How to claim back your overpaid tax

Tax season is upon us, and the 6th of April marks the start of the new tax year.



If you’ve lived and worked in the UK, you might be in for a pleasant surprise in the form of a tax refund.

A tax refund is a repayment of PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax that you overpaid during the tax year, as decided by HMRC. You have a very good chance of receiving a UK tax refund if you find yourself ticking any of the below points.

  • You’ve only worked for part of a tax year (6th of April to the 5th of April the following year).
  • You’ve worked for more than one employer in a tax year.
  • You’ve had two or more jobs at the same time.
  • You’ve been taxed on a basic rate tax code.
  • You’ve paid emergency tax in the last five years.
  • You left the UK before the end of the tax year.
  • You’ve been registered on the wrong tax code at any point in the last five years.

When can you claim back?

  • If you’re still working in the UK, you can claim back any overpaid tax at the end of any tax year for up to four years.
  • If you’re leaving the UK or if you’ve already left, you’re still able to apply, provided that you do this within four years of leaving the UK. If you’ve left at some point during the year, you can claim for the current year and for four previous years.
  • You may also be able to claim back some of the tax you’ve paid if you’ve retired, become unemployed, become a student, or been made redundant and know that you won’t be working until the end of the tax year.

What do you need?

In order to make a claim, you need a P45 or P60 for each job you’ve had. If you’ve lost these or unable to get these documents, a statement of earnings from your employers will suffice.

A P45 is a certificate of your income given to you by your employer at the end of a period of employment which was not a full tax year. It shows how much you earn, the details of your tax code, and the amount of tax you’ve paid for a specific period. A P60 is a certificate of income which is given to you at the end of the tax year once you’ve worked a full tax year.

It’s important to know that you mustn’t get rid of or destroy your P60s, as it plays a vital role in proving that you’ve paid tax. Once you’ve claimed you must keep all your documentation for five years.

How can you make a claim?

You can either use a tax refund agency to process your claim, or you can claim directly through HMRC yourself.

Using an agency is beneficial in the sense that your refund is likely to arrive sooner than when claiming through HMRC. The reason for this is because an agency specialises in tax, and nothing else. Claims are therefore done efficiently and effectively.

So, if you’re comfortable with going through the claim on your own – then HMRC will be your best bet. However, if you find this daunting and want help, get in touch with a reputable tax refund agency.

The average refund is £1250 – possibly more if you haven’t claimed back at all in the last four years. What would you do with your refund?

John Dunn is the manager of 1st Contact Tax Refunds, an ICAEW-registered accounting business that will assist you in submitting your claim so that you get the maximum tax refund in the shortest possible time. To find out if you’re due a tax refund, visit 1st Contact Tax Refunds.