There is something uniquely satisfying about a tax refund. Of course, you must first overpay tax before it can be refunded, but there is a universal joy in receiving a cheque or direct payment to your bank account from HMRC.
Occasionally, HMRC will volunteer the information, they may even send you a formal assessment and advise you that a refund can be claimed. A more likely prompt will come from your accountant as we have an eye for these things…
A selection of situations that may lead to an overpayment are published on HMRC’s website, and we have to say, the list is not complete. They include the following.
You may have overpaid tax if you:
are employed and had too much tax taken from your pay, perhaps due to inaccurate coding of your tax allowances, benefits or expense claims;
have stopped work;
have submitted a tax return that discloses that too much tax has been paid;
have paid too much tax on pension payments you have received;
or if you have bought a life annuity.
You may also be able to reclaim tax if you have:
used your own money for your job, for example, if you have paid for car fuel costs, work clothing or other expense that you have incurred specifically for your work;
paid tax on savings interest if you’re on a low income
if you live in one country and have income in another – how you do this depends on whether you’re a UK resident with foreign income or a non-resident with UK income.
You may also have been entitled to claim an allowance, say the Marriage Allowance, and were slow to make the claim – in our experience HMRC will advise you that such allowances exist, but not that you could make a claim.
More of HMRC’s systems are being computerised, and surprise, surprise, accidents do happen. Without the watchful human touch, it is down to taxpayers or their advisors to spot the faux pars.
If you have that itch, that maybe you have paid too much tax, we would be delighted to cast an eye over your numbers and fire off a few pointed questions to narrow down the possibility that maybe you too have paid too much tax.