Tax refunds for PAYE construction workers


If you’re working in the building trade and shelling out from your own pocket for travel to temporary workplaces, you can claim tax back each year for your expenses. A “temporary workplace” basically just means somewhere you’re working for under 24 months. An average 4-year construction tax refund claim’s worth thousands of pounds, so take a look at our free online tax refund calculator for an instant estimate of what you’re owed. From builders and joiners to carpenters and groundworkers, there’s no good reason to leave your refund cash in the taxman’s pocket.

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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.

Our Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

With RIFT’s unique guarantee, you’ve got no worries about the taxman demanding any of your tax rebate back. Just give us the complete and accurate information we need and we’ll protect you and your cash from HMRC enquiries. If they disagree with the amount we’ve claimed for your expenses, we’ll pay them back out of our own pockets, not yours!

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PAYE Tax Rebates

Information you need for a PAYE tax rebate

It doesn't take a lot of paperwork to back up a construction tax refund claim, but you do have to prove that you're owed money back.  Here are the basics:

  • A list of the sites you've worked on - You'll need to tell HMRC the sites where you've worked and when you were there.  You can claim for up to 4 years, but don't stress out if you can't track down every last detail.  We can help you will in the blanks.
  • Monthly payslips - For the tax years you're claiming for.
  • Other supporting documents - You'll need to show who you are via a photo ID and prove where you live.  MOT certificates and receipts for your work expenses will all help you get the most from your PAYE tax rebate claim.

If you haven't got a Personal Tax Account set up already, you'll probably need one.  It costs nothing and is a big help with keeping all your key information together.  RIFT can help you get all set up, so give us a shout and we'll talk you through it.

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Construction PAYE

Why can PAYE construction workers claim tax refunds?

When you’re paid through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, and travel for work, there’s a good chance you’re owed some tax back from HMRC. Construction workers spend a lot of time at temporary worksites, and the money they’re spending on essential travel earns them a tax refund each year. On top of that, if you’re reaching into your own pocket for things like food, accommodation and repairs or replacements for your tools, uniforms or protective gear, you could have a refund claim for those as well. Even professional body subscriptions and union fees can count toward your refund, as long as they’re necessary for your work.

It sounds like a lot of records to keep hold of, but your free MyRIFT account lets you track your spending as it happens, updating your details directly from your mobile so you never miss out. Even if you’re self-employed, RIFT can still help. We’ve got expert teams of construction refund specialists who’ll explain exactly what you’re owed, and get it back in your pocket fast.

You can find out whether you’re got a tax refund claim in under a minute with our tax refund calculator. After that, we’ll prepare and file your claim for you – and chase the taxman until you’ve got what you’re owed. We’ll keep you in the loop about your claim’s progress, so all you’ll need to do is plan how you’ll spend the cash.


Switching from PAYE to CIS

HMRC’s had its nose bent out of shape about tax evasion in construction for a while now. That’s why it’s cracking down so hard on ''cash-in-hand'' arrangements with its Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

CIS is like paying some of your tax in advance, and it can leave you out of pocket if you’re not careful. If you’re moving from PAYE construction work to being your own boss, we can help you make the switch without all the stress, risk and hassle.

Switch from PAYE to CIS

Specialist Team

RIFT's Construction Team

When RIFT was first founded, it was built to help construction workers tackle the taxman. Our specialist construction refund teams have the expertise to get the very most from your yearly tax rebate claims. On top of that, we’ve got the best tools in the business, including a specialised route calculation system to work out your precise mileage.

It’s not easy to keep track of all the details needed for a 4-year tax refund claim, so RIFT’s teams are here to help. We can chase up the essential information, even if your worksites, your routes or the companies you’ve worked for no longer exist! We’re on great terms with HMRC and have strong partnerships with construction bodies and unions, so we’ve got everything we need to get your refund done the right way.

Most importantly, we take all the work and worry out of the process for you. Your free MyRIFT account makes tracking your mileage and expenses simple and fast. You can update your details from anywhere in the world, so your days of shovelling mountains of paperwork are over with RIFT.

Specialist Team

RIFT Construction Reps

Our reps travel the length and breadth of the country, clocking up thousands of miles a month to put refund cash back in the pockets of UK construction workers. You can meet them wherever suits you, whether that’s on-site in the canteen, at your own home or even down the local pub!

Meet your local Rep

Construction Tax Refunds

Who can get a construction tax rebate?

Pretty much anyone working PAYE at temporary construction worksites can claim tax back from HMRC. It costs nothing to find out what you could be owed, and RIFT won’t charge you a penny until your refund’s paid out. We can even help if you’re self-employed via CIS. Just give us a call or email to get things started, and check our quick list of details needed for your PAYE tax refund claim.

Here are the best ways to get your refund rolling:

  • Answer 4 simple questions and get your details to us with MyRIFT.
  • Drop us a line through our free Forms by Phone Service and we’ll get to work straight away.
  • Use our Forms On-site service to meet up with a RIFT construction refund expert whenever’s best for you.
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HMRC Processing Time

How long will my tax refund take?

On average, you’re probably looking at around 8-10 weeks for HMRC to process your tax rebate claim. The sooner you get us your information, the faster our RIFT refund experts can get to work. Remember that you can claim for expenses and travel from up to 4 years back, so you may still have time to claim even if you’ve never done it before.


Customer stories

I got over £6,000 back and treated the kids​

"I saw the RIFT advert in the Sun and though it was worth a shot to see if I was owed any money. I’ve been with Galamast for 8 years now, use my own car to get around and am always travelling long distances to different sites. I was chuffed when RIFT phoned and told me I got over £6,000 back – it was the easiest money I’ve got back in my life! I’ll definitely be in touch with them again this year to see if I can get any more. I’ve treated the kids to a few nice days out since I got the money so they’re happy too!”

Adrian Chinnock, 57, Somerset

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Construction Tax Refunds

Claiming a tax rebate

When you’re applying for a tax rebate, you’re basically telling HMRC that you’ve paid too much tax. That’s a pretty big claim to make, in the taxman’s eyes. He’s not just going to cough up your cash because you ask for it. You’re going to need some paperwork to back up what you’re saying. That’s why applying to have tax refunded can be tricky, and why so many people get put off. Of course, that’s assuming that they even realise they’re owed tax back in the first place, which most people don’t.

Claiming a refund means sticking to a strict set of rules and deadlines. A lot of people never come close to getting back everything they’re owed – or worse, end up claiming too much and finding themselves in hot water with HMRC.

When you’re with RIFT Refunds, you’ll never have to worry about tackling the taxman. We’ll explain the whole process, and guide you through it from start to finish. You’ll get all the tax relief you’re supposed to, and stay in HMRC’s good books along the way.

Construction Tax Rebates

I'm missing some paperwork. Can I still make a tax refund claim?

There are a few basic details you’ll need to show HMRC to get your tax rebate. Mostly, this means evidence of what you’ve spent on work travel and the essential costs of your job. You’ll also need official documents like P45s, wage slips and MOT certificates. The more records you’ve got on hand to show the taxman, the smoother the ride will be. Don’t worry too much if you can’t find everything you need up-front, though. A lot of the time, RIFT will be able to track down the most important documents and information.

Once your MyRIFT account’s all set up, things will instantly get a lot easier. You’ll be able to use MyRIFT to keep tabs on all of your claim’s most critical information, and to update it at any time. Better yet, since you’ll already have much of the key stuff recorded in MyRIFT by the next time you claim, your refund should be even bigger then.

Construction Tax Rebates

I've got more than one job or source of income. Can I still claim a PAYE tax refund?

Having a second job or source of income can make a big difference to your tax situation. Even so, you might still have a refund claim to make. The chances are you’ll have a separate tax code for each of your jobs, with only one of them having your tax-free Personal Allowance attached to it. The road to your tax refund can get a little bumpy when you’ve got more than just the one job, but RIFT will make sure your claim stay’s on track.

Construction Tax Rebates

I get some benefits in kind from my employer. Will they affect my tax refund claim?

Benefits in kind are those little extras your boss might give out beyond your basic salary. They might include free medical insurance, interest-free loans or a company car, for example. The chances are, these benefits count toward your yearly tax bill – but that’s not always the case. Subsidised canteen meals or employer contributions toward your pension, for example, are tax-free. 

If you’re getting benefits in kind, talk to RIFT to find out where you stand before making a tax refund claim. Our experts will steer you right.

Construction Tax Rebates

I only worked for part of the tax year. Am I owed a PAYE tax refund?

Stopping work part-way through the tax year is one of the many reasons why people end up being owed tax back from HMRC. When you’re taxed through PAYE, the taxman assumes that your income’s going to remain steady throughout the year.

When that income gets cut off, it can be like paying tax on money you never earned.
The amount you can claim back depends on your situation. If you went onto a taxable benefit after stopping work, for instance, your refund amount will be less. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth claiming it, though. There’s never a good reason to leave your refund cash on the taxman’s table.

Just answer our 4 quick questions to get an idea of what you could claim for. It takes under a minute to do and will set you on the path to getting your overpaid tax back where it belongs.

Tax Advice

I've a P800 tax calculation from HMRC. What does it mean?

HMRC sends out P800 forms when it thinks people have paid the wrong amount of tax, in one direction or the other. It’s not necessarily bad news, so don’t panic about it. If you’ve paid too much and HMRC has noticed, they’ll generally sort you out a refund without you having to do anything. If you haven’t paid enough, they’ll explain how they plan to settle up. A lot of the time, this will mean a change to your tax code.

If you’re not sure why you’ve got a P800, or what it means, give RIFT a shout and we’ll set it straight. If there’s been a mistake, we can even get it fixed for you.

Uniform tax refunds

Can I claim a PAYE tax refund for cleaning my uniform or specialised work clothes?

If you need to wear a uniform or other special clothing for work, there are a few costs that might add to your tax refund claim. The same goes for things like Personal Protective Equipment. There are a couple of catches in the rules, though. Most importantly, you need to be paying out these costs yourself. If your employer gives you use of a free laundry service, for example, don’t expect the taxman to reach into his pocket for you.

You also generally can’t claim for the initial purchase costs of most of these things, or for everyday clothes that you happen to wear for work. What counts as “work-specific clothing” varies with your job, of course. Repairing the feathers of a full-body chicken suit might be a valid expense for a children’s entertainer – but not so much for a scaffolder. However, if you’re footing the bill for cleaning, repairing or replacing your uniform, work-specific clothing or safety gear (a high-visibility jacket with a company logo, for example), then you probably have a refund claim to make.

Things change a lot if you’re self-employed – particularly in construction. Under the Self Assessment system, many of the everyday costs of your work can be used to bring down the profits you’re being taxed on. In that case, the initial cost of buying the clothes or gear you need for work will tend to count as an “allowable expense”. HMRC will still probably have questions about that chicken suit, though…

A quick note on the paperwork for these claims: if you don’t fancy keeping precise records and receipts every time you go to the laundry, you’ve got the option of claiming a "flat rate deduction" instead for PAYE claims or “simplified expenses” for Self Assessment tax returns. Under these systems, you can claim a fixed amount for your work clothing bills without all the extra hassle and homework. You might not get back everything you’re owed this way, but it’s simpler. If you’re not sure which way to jump, contact RIFT and we’ll talk you through your best option.

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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 reward for every friend you refer (T&Cs apply) when they make their claim with us, plus an extra £150 bonus for every 5 people you refer who end up claiming.

Use our Refer a Friend form to get started.  We'll get in touch with your friend to let them know you think they might have a claim.  Then just wait for the rewards to roll in!

Refer Your Friends

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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