HMRC tax rebates - UK tax refund claims

A tax refund or tax rebate is the money that you get back from HMRC if you paid too much in tax. By law, if you're travelling to temporary workplaces and paying to make your own way there, you could get a tax refund. On average, a 4-year tax refund claimed through RIFT amounts to £2,500. Use our tax rebate calculator to get a free, instant estimate of how much tax you could be owed back.

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Why use RIFT Refunds?

You will benefit from

RIFT guarantee

If HMRC wants your refund back, we cover it.

No hidden costs

It costs nothing to find out if you have a claim.

Outstanding service

Rated by Institute of Customer Service.

All aftercare included

Free tax advice throughout the year.

Am I due a tax rebate?

Tax rebate experts since 1999

We've helped claim back over £200 million of over paid tax from HMRC since 1999 for over 300,000 people just like you. There are no hidden costs and all aftercare is included. We're the only company in the tax refund business to have been awarded the ICS Service Mark for outstanding customer service. It makes no difference what your job is; if your employer doesn’t pay your travel expenses in full, you could get a tax rebate.  

It doesn't even stop with travel. You may be able to claim tax back on expenses for things like washing your work uniform or buying your lunch that you could claim a tax refund for. RIFT Refunds can even get tax refunds if you've been made redundant or for jobs you've left, if they were in the last 4 years. 

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HMRC Tax Refunds

What is a tax rebate?

A tax rebate is the money you're owed back from HMRC when you've paid too much tax. In some cases, tax refunds happen automatically without you even claiming them. For instance, under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, the tax you owe is taken out of your pay automatically by your employer.  It's calculated based on your salary and other factors.  Sometimes, for example if your salary goes down or you’re out of work, HMRC knows you’re owed a PAYE tax refund and will send it automatically.

Each year, more and more people are asking ''Am I due a tax rebate?'' Surprisingly, the answer's often yes.  When you aren't claiming the tax back that you're owed, you're letting HMRC hold onto money that should be back in your pocket.  The problem is that a lot of people don't even realise they're entitled to a tax refund, or understand how claiming tax back works. Knowing that you could be claiming travel expenses and other costs against your tax bill is only half the battle though.  You also need to understand how to get your money back.

However, the taxman may not always have all the information he needs to get his sums right, meaning you end up paying too much. There are several ways this can happen. You might have work expenses that HMRC don't know about, for example. The costs of certain kinds of work travel, for instance, can bring down the amount of tax you owe. There are actually lots of things that count as work expenses, but not many people get the most from them. That's why it's a good idea to get professional advice from RIFT. You can start by answering just 4 quick questions.

Even self-employed people using the Self Assessment Tax Return System to sort out their tax can end up paying too much. Builders working under the Construction Industry Scheme, for example, lose a hefty chunk of their pay before they even get it. That usually means they don't get the full benefit of their tax-free Personal allowance, and are owed some tax back.

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HMRC Tax Rebates

Am I due a tax rebate?

A lot of people never realise that they could be due a tax rebate on a lot of different work expenses.  The truth is, many of the every days costs you're running up just by doing your job can count towards your tax rebate like: 

  • Accommodation costs - Perhaps you're an Offshore worker and are staying in a hotel the night before you head out to the rig?
  • Food costs - If you've had to buy your own meals travelling between different workplaces.
  • Laundry costs for your uniform including any repair or replacement costs for specialist uniforms.
  • Tools or specialist equipment that are essential for you to do your job.
  • Professional subscriptions, union or license fees you've had to pay for.
  • Any expenses incurred while on training courses that are essential for your work.

If you think this applies to you, find out for free today if you could be due a tax refund. Try our tax rebate calculator too which will give you an instant of how much your rebate could be.

''Am I due a tax rebate?'' is the most common question we get asked every year at RIFT.  For most British taxpayers, it's a tricky one to answer.  The laws around tax rebates are tough to get your head around if you're not an expert but thankfully, RIFT are!

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HMRC Tax refunds

What information do I need to claim a tax rebate?

We need the following basic information to look at processing your tax rebate:

  • A list of all the temporary workplaces/bases you've travelled to - along with the dates you were there. This can cover the last 4 years, and the more information you have, the better.
  • Monthly payslips from your employer or contractor.
  • Receipts for any work related expenses - these will help maximise your claim.
  • A copy of your photo ID - Your driving licence or passport will do.
  • Proof of address (e.g. gas or council tax bill).
  • MOT certificates if you've been using your own vehicle to travel.

You can find more information about what you need here, or give RIFT a shout and we can talk you through it.

You will also need to setting up a Personal Tax Account. It's free to set up and lets you see all your tax information in one place.  That includes details from employers, banks, building societies and government departments.  Click on the green button below to get your refund claim rolling.

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HMRC Processing Time

How long does a tax refund take?

HMRC's wheels grind a little slower than we'd like at all times, but they do turn.  You can usually expect to get your tax rebate paid out inside 8-10 weeks.  RIFT's specialists teams will do everything they can to keep things moving smoothly, and the sooner you get your claim rolling the faster you'll get your tax rebate cash.

How long does a rebate take?

Our Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

When you claim your tax rebate with RIFT, our unique RIFT Guarantee means that you don't have to worry about the taxman reclaiming any of your money.  So long as you give us full and accurate information, if HMRC disagrees with the amount that we've claimed and ask for the money back, we'll pay it.  It won't cost you a penny.

RIFT Guarantee

Am I due a tax refund?

How far can I claim a refund?

It's possible to claim tax back for the last 4 years:

  • 2015/16
  • 2016/17
  • 2017/18
  • 2018/19

HMRC tax refund rules say you can claim cash back for the last 4 tax years.  It doesn't matter what you're claiming for, or whether you changed employer in that time or spent periods self-employed or out of work.  People can be put off by the paperwork involved in claiming for more than one year that's why RIFT are here to help.  We can talk to your past and present employers to dig out the key details we need for your claim.  Even if the company has gone of out business, there are still ways we can help.

Don't forget you can claim for more than just travel. You can also claim for food, accommodation and more.  It sounds like a lot of bookkeeping, but with just a few basic details we can do all the heavy lifting for you. 

Tax Rebate Check

How do I check if I'm owed tax back?

It's easy to check if you're owed tax back. Use our free online tax rebate calculator to get an instant answer on whether it looks like you have a claim and you'll get an estimate of how much that claim could be worth. Whether you're self-employed or working PAYE, it's important to check your tax. It's easy to end up being due a tax rebate, so you need to be sure you're getting it right. With RIFT checking your taxes, you'll always know they're being worked out correctly. You'll be claiming for all the expenses you're entitled to, and getting the best out of any refund you're owed. 

You can also answer 4 simple eligibility questions to find out if you have a claim. Just click the green button below to get started. When you're ready to make your claim, we'll guide you through the whole process. If you need to file a Self Assessment tax return, we'll get that sorted for you too. We'll check your tax code to make sure it's right, and get your claim submitted before the deadline. There's no extra charge for any of this.  It's all part of of our aftercare service.

With RIFT, you'll always know which records and paperwork to keep to prove your claim. If you've missed out on claiming tax refunds before, we can even help you get money back for the last 4 years! Take your first step toward your tax refund claim today.

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HMRC Tax Refunds

How do tax refunds work?

It's not always easy to find out if you're owed tax back from HMRC.  If you are, there are strict rules about claiming it. Even if you're owed a tax refund, the taxman isn't just going to fork over your cash without a struggle. You need to prove to HMRC that you've paid too much tax, and that's what trips so many people up. To get what you're owed, you really have to understand how a tax rebate works.

There are lots of reasons why you might pay too much tax and be due a tax rebate. You might have work expenses like travel costs or be due a uniform tax rebate for taking care of your work clothes, for instance. You might be paying subscription fees to professional bodies, or maintaining the essential tools of your job. Even if you aren't paying for work costs yourself, you might still be owed a tax refund. For example:

  • You might only have been employed for part of the tax year.
  • You might have been issued the wrong tax code.
  • You might be self-employed and your payments on account are too high.

Here's how to claim a tax refund:

  • If you're trying to get tax back by claiming mileage expenses to temporary workplaces, keep a list of everywhere you've worked.
  • Along with what you paid to get there.
  • Keep any evidence to help prove and speed up your tax refund claim, and get you your money back.

Remember that lost documents can often be replaced. Banks should be able to give you copies of statements, and even things like invoices can be reproduced. All of these will help you get a PAYE tax refund from HMRC as quickly as possible. If you can save your documents along the way, that's even better.  With RIFT, we make that easy by setting up a free MyRIFT account for you.  With MyRIFT, you can track your expenses as they crop up, and upload the evidence digitally.  You can even take photos of things like receipts and send them directly to us through your MyRIFT account. You can also track the status of your tax refund too!

Tax law can be complicated, and many people end up paying too much tax without even knowing it. If HMRC discovers a mistake, they can often help you. If they don't know that you're owed money, though, you have to claim it back yourself. Using our RIFT Tax Rebate Calculator for a free tax refund estimate is a great way to start. 

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Claiming tax back

Are tax refunds automatic?

Some tax rebates do happen automatically. That is, they're taken care of for you by HMRC - assuming they know you're owed money back.  When this happens, you'll get a P800 tax calculation from the taxman. The P800 will tell you how much HMRC thinks you should have been taxed. If you've paid more than that, you'll get sent a refund automatically. On the other hand, if they think you haven't paid enough, they'll take action to get the rest from you. Typically, this will mean a change in your tax code, although you'll sometimes get the option to pay it directly.

You might also be owed a tax refund if you stopped work part-way through the year, or have a temporary or emergency tax code. If HMRC or your employer makes a mistake, your tax code might even just be flat-out wrong! Again, HMRC won't give you your money back unless they know you've overpaid. If you think this applies to you, talk to RIFT to see what we can do about it. We're on great terms with HMRC, and can take care of all the messy details for you.

If you're owed a refund because of travel to temporary workplaces or other allowable expenses, however, things are different. HMRC won't pay you back automatically, because they won't know how much they owe you or why. When that happens, you have to do some legwork yourself to get your money back. That means keeping records, holding onto receipts and learning the rules on what you can claim for. This is what RIFT Tax Refunds is all about, so get in touch to see how much you're owed. Again, our 4 simple questions are the ideal first steps on the road to claiming back the tax you're due. Click on the green button below to get started.

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Tax refund check

Reclaiming overpaid tax

There are lots of reasons why you might be owed a tax rebate. Maybe you stopped working part-way through the tax year. Maybe you've got work-related expenses that you shelled out for yourself. Whatever the reason, RIFT will help you get back everything the taxman owes you.

Many (but still not enough) people already know that there are certain things they can claim tax relief for. They may know about claiming travel expenses to temporary workplaces, for instance.  However, even with professional advice from accountants they still don't get back everything they're entitled to. As the UK's leading tax experts, RIFT have the specialist knowledge to put all that money back in your pocket.

While a traditional accountant might be helpful in claiming a tax refund on your work travel, you could easily miss out on other key claims. We often see people losing up to £500 per year to the taxman because they weren't told they could claim against their meals! With RIFT, you can be sure the taxman never hangs onto more of your money than he's due.

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Tax Refunds Advice

How to claim tax back online

To get your tax back online you need to:

  • Have your P800 calculation at hand
  • Visit the HMRC website
  • Sign in to your Government Gateway account
  • Simply follow the instructions on screen

If you have a P800 tax calculation that says you've been overpaid tax, you should be able to get your tax back fairly simply. If you don't have a P800 calculation form, it means the taxman doesn't know you've paid too much. You may still be able to claim back your tax online, but you'll need some proof to do it. RIFT can show you the ropes, and even put your online tax rebate claim together for you.

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Tax Refund Amount

How much will I get in my tax rebate?

A tax rebate is usually 20% of your necessary work expenses. That's because most people pay tax at 20%. Your refund might be higher if you're a higher rate taxpayer, or if you've overpaid tax for other reasons. On the other hand, there are a few reasons why you might get a lower refund. For example:

  • You might owe money to HMRC, including things like outstanding penalties.
  • You might have underpaid your tax because your tax code is wrong.
  • Your work expenses might already be included in your tax code.
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Refer A Friend

Extra cash for you and your mates

Help your mates get their tax refund and get extra cash in your own pocket! 

At RIFT, we love it when happy clients tell their friends about us. We love it so much that we’re rewarding you for doing it!

We'll give you £50 for every friend you refer (T&Cs apply) that claims with us, plus we'll give you a £150 bonus when 5 people claim with us.

Simply tell us about your friend using our Refer a Friend form and we’ll get in touch to let them know you think they might have a claim.

Refer Your Friends

RIFT prices

How much does a tax refund cost?

  • Tax refund if you're employed under PAYE: 28% of refund claimed + VAT (minimum fee £45+VAT).
  • Tax refund with with tax return for self-employed (including CIS): £245 +VAT.

People often wonder 'Are tax refunds legal?' and the answer is 100% yes!  We take the hassle of out tax, making sure that you get back all the money you're owed.

Have a look at our full list of services and prices.  It cost nothing to find out if you have a claim.

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Uniform tax rebates

Can I claim back tax for cleaning any specialised clothes I use for work?

Yes, if you wear a uniform or specialised clothing for work, you can claim a uniform tax rebate. There are basically 2 ways for going about it, depending on what suits you. If you don't mind a little paperwork, you can keep receipts whenever you pay for cleaning or repairing your work clothes. When it's time to claim your tax refund, you can use these to prove to HMRC how much you paid from your own pocket.

The other way to claim your tax back is with the simplified Fixed Rate Expenses system. Basically, the taxman has come up with a rough guess at what it costs to keep your work clothes in good condition. Instead of keeping receipts and crunching numbers every time you pay for cleaning or repair, you can just use HMRC's figures. 

To find out more about uniform tax rebates, click the button below.

Uniform Tax Rebates

Food Tax Rebates

Can I claim the cost of meals for my tax refund?

Yes, when you're travelling for work, the money you spend on food is an allowable expense. It's worth claiming it, too. On average, you could be looking at an additional tax refund of £250-£500 per year!

Of course, you have to eat anyway, and HMRC won't pay for just any food you grab at work. The rules apply only when you're travelling to temporary workplaces. All it takes are a few good habits to claim your food tax refund, but you do have to keep some records.

Remember, it's not just the daily tenner you're forking over for your lunch that counts. Everything from the cup of tea you bought before you started work to your well-earned afternoon snack can qualify. Your records could be receipts, meal tickets or mini-statements from cash machines. Even a photo of the price board or menu can be helpful in tracking your spending. What's important is that you can show the taxman what it's costing you to do your job. HMRC won't try to cheat you, but they do need you to back up your refund claim.

Food Tax Rebates

Tax refunds for tools

I have to buy my own tools for work. Can I claim a tax refund?

Yes, HMRC lets you claim back tax for the money you're spending to maintain and replace the tools you need for work. You can't claim anything back for their initial purchase price, sadly. However, replacement and repair costs can all count toward your tax refund.

The kinds of tools you can claim for depend on the work you do. The basic rule, though, is that they have to be essential to do your job for them to qualify for tax relief. That could mean things like:

  • Scissors or clippers for hairdressers.
  • Knives and kitchen apparatus for chefs and kitchen staff.
  • Hand tools for electricians, carpenters, mechanics, etc.

The other thing to remember is that you can only claim a tax refund if you're paying for the tools yourself. If your employer's footing the bill or reimbursing you, you won't qualify unless what you're getting doesn't cover the whole cost.

Of course, if you're self-employed then the rules are different. Instead of claiming a tax refund, the essential costs of things like tools count against the profits you're paying tax on. You sort all of this out when you file your Self Assessment tax return.

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Tax refunds for tools

I don't have all my receipts. Is there an easier way to claim them back?

If you don't like the idea of keeping receipts to prove what you've spent, there's another option. HMRC has set out "flat rate deductions" for various occupations that let you claim a fixed amount instead. Carpenters, for example, can claim a flat rate tax deduction of £140 a year. Even if HMRC hasn't worked out a specific rate for your profession, you might still be able to claim a standard £60 flat rate deduction.

Talk to RIFT to find out what your best option is, and how we can help.

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Tax Refund Experts

Looking after you and your tax refund

We have 7 different teams of dedicated tax refund specialists who deal with every aspect of your claim.  When you become a RIFT customer you'll get your own dedicated claim manager who will prepare your claim. You can contact them at any time throughout the tax year.  They will keep you updated on how your claim is progressing and remind you of any important deadlines.

The Claim Process

HMRC Tax Refunds

Why can't I get a HMRC tax refund?

  • If your employer pays your travel expenses in full, or you only work in one location for an employer, you won't have overpaid your tax.
  • If you're self-employed, the rules are different, and there are other expenses we may be able to claim for you. Find out more about this on our Self Assessment tax returns and tax returns explained pages.

Tell us a bit about your situation and we can quickly let you know if you should claim a tax rebate. Even if you get a mileage allowance, if it’s not at HMRC's standard rate you can claim the difference back in tax!

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Getting your earnings and tax information for your refund

What if I don't have complete pay and tax records for my claim?

There are some essential pieces of information needed to make a tax refund claim. Some of the most important are details of what you've earned and the tax you've paid on it. With this information, we can work out whether or not you've paid too much tax.

The best place to start looking is your payslips from your employer. Payslips can give you a lot of information, including fiddly stuff like maternity and sick pay. If your employer reimburses you for some of your work expenses, it can impact your refund claim. Again, these details should all appear on your payslips. Here's how to read your payslip.

How do I send my information?

How do I get my pay and tax information to RIFT?

Use your MyRIFT account to upload a copy of your payslips. If your payslips aren't digital, simply take a photograph of them instead and upload this instead. Or, if you prefer, you can send us your actual paper payslip by Freepost.

At the end of each tax year, you'll be sent a P60 form.  This shows your total earnings and tax for the year.  If you've got one of these, you can send it to us instead of all your individual payslips.

How do I send my information?

Can I get the essential information online?

If you've set up a Personal Tax Account on the HMRC website, you'll be able to get the necessary information from there.

I can't get this information

What if I can't get hold of the information I need for my refund claim?

If you can't get your pay and tax details from any of these methods, RIFT can still help.  We can call HMRC for you and request everything we need. They'll then send the information to you by post. Once you have their letter, you can send it on to us electronically or by Freepost. In some cases, we may be able to get the information directly from HMRC over the phone. For security reasons, though, you'll still have to be present on the call.

Track my claim

MyRIFT track my claim

Our Track My Claim tool is the very best way to keep an eye on your tax refund's progress. We based it on what you told us you wanted from MyRIFT.  That means it's quick, simple to use and gives you all the information you need in one place.  What's more, Track My Claim also helps you send the details we need to speed your claim along and get the most from your refund.  From your first enquiry to your final pay-out it's all at your finger tips with MyRIFT Track My Claim.

Just answering a few simple questions will get the ball rolling on your tax refund, and Track My Claim will guide you through the rest.  Once your claim's underway, you'll be able to follow it's progress like a tracking number on a parcel.  Even better, Track My Claim will send you a heads-up each time your claim reaches the next stage of its journey.  Any time you need to do anything, Track My Claim will let you know and explain it all.

Track My Refund

Need more help?

Wondering if you can claim a tax refund or need to submit a tax return? Use our online tools to find out if you're owed money by HMRC.

Do I Qualify?

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