COVID-19 has forced almost every part of the UK economy to change sharply. In a country getting used to working at much greater distances than usual, it’s not really a surprise to find construction falling behind a bit. There’s just not a whole lot of hands-on construction work you can do behind a computer screen. 

That simple fact is the backdrop for the fall in building trade wages we’re seeing now. Average pay in construction hit £631 per week during August. That’s 3.2% lower than where it was a year before. It’s a bigger drop than any other industry, and actually goes against the grain of a 1.9% upturn in weekly earnings across the UK as a whole.

Not all the news is terrible, of course. That 3.2% year-on-year fall in pay’s still a much better figure than the 11% one we were looking at back in April when the coronavirus really started to show its teeth. Job vacancy listings are up in construction, too, with an average of 22,000 from July to September. That’s actually 3 times the vacancies opening up than there were from April to June. Again, though, that’s still 13% down from the previous year.

The point is, UK construction is built to weather storms. The pandemic’s hit the industry hard, but the building trade is fighting back. Now more than ever, it’s time to make sure you never leave cash in the taxman’s pocket that should be in yours. There’s over £300 million going to waste in unclaimed construction tax refunds each year, and there’s absolutely no reason to miss out on what you’re owed.

A few points to keep in mind when you’re getting even with the taxman:

Can’t work from home? Do your homework

In construction, every mile you travel for work could be earning you some tax back. You’ve got to keep track of that mileage, though. Travel makes up the biggest chunk of almost every tax refund claim, whether it’s in your own vehicle or on public transport. If you’re paying for it yourself, you’re owed a tax refund.

It’s not just the mileage that matters

When you’re on the road for work, you’re probably shelling out for more than just fuel and tickets. Everything from overnight accommodation to your afternoon snack on site can count toward the tax you can claim back. Hang onto those receipts!

Be equipped to make the most of your claim

Once your travel’s taken care of, you’re well on your way to making a really solid tax refund claim. The road doesn’t end there, though. Aside from your work journeys, there are loads of other day-to-day expenses that count toward your refund.  Replacing, repairing or even cleaning any essential tools, equipment or clothing can score you a tax refund for your costs. The same goes for any professional body fees or subscriptions, and even certain training costs. It’s easy, and often costly, to miss out on expenses like these, so keep track of what you’re spending.

With RIFT, all your refund bookkeeping is kept smooth and simple with your free MyRIFT account and RIFT app. Track your mileage and expenses as you go and upload everything directly to the system. Quick and easy.

It makes no difference whether you’re on PAYE or CIS. If you’re shelling out cash for the essentials of your work then you need to be claiming the tax relief you’re due. Check if you're owed money now with our free tax refund calculator, get your refund rolling and get back what you’re owed.