Tax rebates for agency workers

In general, an ''agency worker'' as defined by HMRC won't usually qualify for tax rebates for thinks like travel to their workplaces. However, it all comes down to what being an ''agency worker'' really means.

The taxman has very specific definitions he uses for terms like this, and they don't always line up with the normal people talk. For example, simply getting a job from an employment agency, doesn't make you an ''agency worker'' in their eyes, even though that's how you might describe your work situation to friends and family. An agency supplies workers to the ''end user'' i.e the company that the work is actually being carried out for.

Agency workers tax rebates

Do I count as an agency worker?

Technically speaking, an agency worker agrees to be ''supplied'' by the agency to client companies, for an agreed amount of time. These ''agreements'' are treated as separate employments with the agency by HRMC.

You will be an agency worker if:

  • A contract exists between you and the agency.
  • Your engagement with the end user is temporary.
  • Your work is controlled by the end user.
  • You are not self employed.
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Agency Worker Tax Refunds

I work through an agency or employment intermediary. Why can't I claim tax back for my expenses?

Here's where the problems creep in.  To qualify for a travel tax rebate, your workplace has to be ''temporary'', which usually means you will expect to be working at that workplace for 24 months or less.  For agency workers, each assignment with the agency is treated as a separate employment and if you are only working at one workplace within each assignment, then HMRC will consider that workplace to be permanent and therefore not available for tax relief on your travel.

However that's not the end of the story. Some people will work at multiple workplaces within the same assignment to be working at multiple workplaces in a day.  In these circumstances there may well be a claim for expenses to be made. Again, the rules about this get very tricky in places.  Always talk to RIFT to be sure you're getting the refunds you're entitled to.

Agency worker tax refunds

How can RIFT help agency workers?

One of the most important things we can do is let you know if you're actually an ''agency worker'' as defined by HMRC or not in the first place.  Either way, we can then explain exactly what kinds of tax relief you qualify for, and make sure you get them.  So much depends on the contract you have with your agency and the kinds of travel you're doing that it's easy to get confused.

When in doubt, simply describe your situation to us and we'll explain how it all works.  Even if you don't qualify for a refund, there's a lot we can do to help.  If you're self-employed, for instance, we'll be able to handle your self assessment tax returns for you.  That gives us another way to put cash back in your pocket, by making sure you're claiming for all your allowable expenses.

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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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