12 Reasons Why You've Overpaid Tax
22nd June 2016
No one wakes up in the morning full of the joys of paying taxes. It's never fun to part with your hard-earned money - particularly if you're doing all the work yourself through Self Assessment.
Even if you're working PAYE, though, you can still find yourself paying more than you're supposed to. Here are just a few of the ways HMRC's bite can get too close to the bone:
You Missed the Deadline
This ought to be the easiest one to avoid, but still far too many people are leaving their taxes too late each year. With a single day's delay costing you £100, that's an eye-watering mistake to make.
Delay your return or payment any longer and it's likely to get a whole lot worse.
You're On the Wrong Tax Code
Just because you're working PAYE, you're not necessarily paying the right tax. Your employer might have made a mistake, for one thing.
If you changed jobs or got made redundant part-way through the tax year, you might've paid too much tax already.
Here's how to check your tax code is right.
You're Working Two Jobs and Not Using Your Full Personal Allowance
This is an easy trap to fall into. When you've got more than one job, your tax-free Personal Allowance only counts for your "main" one.
If HMRC gets your main job muddled with your extra one, your highest-paying job might be taxed from the very first penny. For instance, let's say you've got an extra job paying £10,000 a year, on top of your "real" job. If HMRC gets them mixed up, you'll be missing out on £1,000 a year of your Personal Allowance.
You're Not Using Your Other Allowances
There's more to allowances than just your tax-free personal one. There's also Capital Gains Tax Allowance, Annual Investment Allowance and Marriage Allowance to think about.
Depending on your circumstances, you could be stuffing the taxman's pockets with money that should be in yours.
You're Not Claiming Your Expenses
If you're self-employed, you need to keep a close eye on all the money you're spending on your business.
If you work from home, you might be able to claim tax relief on some of your household expenditure.
Even if you're not self-employed, if you're making your own way to temporary workplaces you might have a claim for travel costs.
You're Treating Your Tax Years as One-and-Done
If you're self-employed, remember you can carry losses from the previous year forward to count against this year's profits.
Your Payments on Account Are Too High
If you know your income next tax year will be lower, you can apply to get your payments on account lowered.
You Didn't Hear About "Rent a Room Relief"
If you're renting out a furnished room in your home, there's an optional scheme you should know about.
Rent a Room Relief lets you take £7,500 in rent each year without paying tax on it.
Don't miss out on this. If you're a professional landlord, don't forget to claim tax relief for your expenses and the mortgages on your rental properties.
You're Not Getting the Best Out of Your Savings
Remember to use your full tax-free ISA allowance if you can.
If your spouse pays a lower tax rate than you, consider transferring savings or investments to them.
You're Paying National Insurance Too Long
Once you hit the state retirement age, remember you don't have to make those National Insurance contributions any more.
You're Not Using Your Pension Properly
When you make voluntary payments into your employer's pension scheme, remember that they can be made from your pay before it's taxed.
You're Not Getting the Right Help
At the end of the day, HMRC doesn't actually want more than its fair share of your money. You have to be on your toes to avoid overpaying, though.
Even if you've paid too much, as long as you can prove it, you can get a tax rebate. At RIFT, we've got the know-how and experience to keep the taxman honest. We've claiming tax refunds and filing tax returns since 1999 so we know what we're talking about.