Time is running out to claim your tax refund!
Many working students pay too much tax during the tax year under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, and then have to claim it back at the end of the tax year if their earnings have not exceeded the annual tax free personal allowance.
If you paid tax during the tax year 2010/11 that you have not claimed back yet, you MUST do that before 5 April 2015 – or the tax is lost forever. So now is the time to check whether you paid tax during that year and to compare your total income with the personal allowance for that year (£7,475 in 2010/11) so that you can check if you are due a refund.
Getting your 2010/11 refund
If your 2010/11 refund has not found its way to you automatically already, but you are pretty sure you are due one, then you may have to give HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) a little nudge to get things moving.
As time is of the essence, we suggest you call HMRC as soon as possible and explain why you think you have overpaid. Some people have been having trouble getting through to HMRC lately, so you may find these hints and tips from LITRG on contacting HMRC useful.
You should have the following information with you when you call them:
- your National Insurance number
- information about the jobs you had or State benefits you were getting at the time.
You should note down the time and date of the call, the name of the adviser you spoke to and exactly what they ask you to do, for your records. They may ask you to fill out of a form or send documents like your P45 or P60 to them if you have got them (just a word of warning: these will probably need to be received into HMRC offices by 5 April 2015 at the latest). If you do have to send papers into HMRC, we would recommend that you keep a copy for your records and that you use special delivery or similar so that there can be no dispute as to if/when HMRC received something.
There are lots of organisations out there who will help you trigger your 2010/11 PAYE refund – for a fee. However, more often than not, it is straightforward for a taxpayer to do things for themselves and fees are incurred unnecessarily. There is more information on how to claim any refund due in our tax refunds section.
2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 tax years
You can claim now for PAYE refunds for any of these tax years as well. There is no need to wait until the last minute.
2011/12 Personal Allowance £7,475 Claim deadline 5 April 2016
2012/13 Personal Allowance £8,105 Claim deadline 5 April 2017
2013/14. Personal Allowance £9,440 Claim deadline 5 April 2018
Current tax year (2014/15)
With the current tax year end fast approaching (5th April 2015), your thoughts may well be turning to a potential tax refund for this year, if your earnings have not exceeded the annual tax free personal allowance (£10,000).
These days HMRC aggregate employees’ pay and tax details automatically at the end of the tax year and – if you have paid too much tax – should send you a calculation (called a P800) along with a cheque (however, make sure HMRC have your current address!). They should not need prompting to do this and will do this for free.
If you are someone with complex tax affairs and you have to file a formal tax return form to reconcile your tax affairs for 2014/15 and trigger any refund that you are due, then understandably, you may be considering using a tax agent to help you do this.
You can find a list of the major reputable tax and accounting bodies along with a health warning about unscrupulous tax organisations in the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group’s article, Tax Refund Companies – a health warning.
A final word from us: if you are going to be completing your tax return yourself online – make sure you are using the official site: https://www.gov.uk/log-in-file-self-assessment-tax-return. This may seem an obvious point, but we have heard stories of several people who have mistaken commercial self-assessment tax websites for the official HMRC website and then found themselves having to pay charges for a mere ‘forwarding’ service.