How to claim back tax from HMRC?
Published 1 October 2012 by Lucy Bower
HMRC will usually contact you if you are due a tax refund, so you shouldn't have to claim - but it doesn't happen overnight and they may have to trace you if you have moved around a lot.
According to consumer group Which?, HMRC will issue more than 3 million people with a tax refund this year - with an average repayment of £379.
Everyone likes the thought of a cheque landing on their mat - and if you're budgeting or repaying debt, an unexpected refund could be even more welcome.
You might be entitled to a tax refund if…
- Benefits provided by your employer have changed during the financial year.
- You have more than one job, or more than one pension, and the tax-free allowances are spread between them.
- You have changed jobs during the financial year and you had a gap between jobs.
- You changed job and your employer put you on an emergency tax code.
- You filed your own tax return (Self Assessment) and made a mistake.
- You believe too much tax was deducted from your pension.
How to claim a tax refund for the last financial year
You know the saying 'two things in life are certain - death and taxes'? Well, it's difficult to escape the tax office - especially if you owe them money!
On the other hand, if they owe you a refund, they'll find a way to get it to you, but it probably won't happen overnight. If you're overpaying tax at the moment, you'll need to wait until at least the end of the financial year before you could receive any refund (April).
If you paid too much tax in the preceding financial year, HMRC will send you a P800 form. You fill it in and send it back. If you've paid too much tax, a refund is sent to you automatically - you do not have to make a claim - and you'll receive either a cheque, or a bank credit into your account.
However, if you didn't pay enough tax the previous financial year, you'll have to pay it back. HMRC can make special arrangements for repayment if repaying it all in one go would cause you hardship.
How to claim a refund for earlier years
There are time limits about how far back you can claim a tax refund. Generally the tax office will look at claims up to four years old if you made a mistake, but if HMRC made a mistake, you could get more time.
You would need to contact HMRC and provide any documents they ask for. These could include:
- P60 for the year end
- P45 from any job during that financial year
- Evidence of any state benefits received during that financial year
For further information on reclaiming a tax refund, it’s well worth spending some time online. Just visit the search engine of your choice and search on ‘tax refund’.
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