How do I claim back tax?
If you have paid too much tax, or ‘overpaid’ tax, and you complete a tax return, HMRC will send you a repayment once they have processed your tax return. If you are not within Self Assessment, that is, you do not have to complete a tax return, you can still claim back overpaid tax.
Claiming back a straightforward overpayment of tax should usually be easy enough to do yourself. But exactly how you do it depends on the type of income you have. Here we cover:
- How do I claim back tax I have overpaid through PAYE on wages?
- How do I claim back tax if I am in Self Assessment?
- How do I claim back tax on savings income?
We also look at tax refund companies and explain why you should be careful of them.
You will also need to know how to check whether or not you have overpaid tax, so that you know whether you can claim a tax repayment.
Be warned – there are tax refund scammers pretending to be HMRC in order to obtain your personal details including information about your bank account(s). If you receive an email or text purporting to be from HMRC about a tax refund, firstly, DO NOT respond to it or click on any links. Secondly, forward it to HMRC and help them stop this sort of thing (HMRC’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org). There is a news article on our main LITRG website which explains what you should look for.
There is more detailed information on repayments that relate to specific groups in different sections of this website as follows:
- If you are an international student and you are leaving or have left the UK, you should go to the international students section.
- If you want information on refunds of overpaid or incorrectly paid National Insurance contributions, go to our National Insurance page.
You have four years from the end of the tax year in which the overpayment arose to claim a refund, as shown below. If a claim is not made within the time limit you will lose out on any refund that may be due and the tax year becomes ‘closed’ to reclaims.
Tax year 2015/16 (year ended 5 April 2016) – claim by 5 April 2020
Tax year 2016/17 (year ended 5 April 2017) – claim by 5 April 2021
Tax year 2017/18 (year ended 5 April 2018) – claim by 5 April 2022
Tax year 2018/19 (year ended 5 April 2019) – claim by 5 April 2023
Remember, even if you only want HMRC to look at one particular tax year, HMRC may take the opportunity to look over the four ‘open’ tax years. So you should review your position for all four tax years before contacting HMRC.