Tax Refunds for Security Workers

When you travel to temporary workplaces for your job in security, you’re probably stacking up some out-of-pocket expenses. Those costs mean you’re owed some tax back from HMRC. If you’re not getting the full allowances you’re entitled to from your employer, then you could claim a tax refund for anything from your work mileage and SIA license fees to the upkeep of your essential gear and uniform.

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£2,500 average refund

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RIFT Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

When you claim your security tax rebate with RIFT, our unique RIFT Guarantee means that you’ll never have to worry about the taxman reclaiming your refund money. So long as you give us full and accurate information, if HMRC disagrees with the amount that we've claimed, we'll pay it back from our pockets, not yours. It won't cost you a penny!

Security tax refunds

Information needed for your security tax refund

The taxman won’t cough up your refund without some proof of what you’re spending. Here’s what it takes to make a full tax refund claim:

  • A list of the all places you've travelled to work. Most tax refunds have some work travel costs included, so this is crucial. We'll also need to know how long you were at each of your workplaces. Exact dates and locations won’t always matter, as we can often work them out for you. Just give as us much detail as you can.
  • Receipts for expenses. Any time you’re using your own cash to buy the essentials of your work, you could claim a tax refund. This could mean laundry costs for your uniform or the application and renewal fees for your SIA licence, for instance. Keeping good records about these expenses is the key to getting back what you’re owed.
  • Contract of employment. It’s all about proving you’re owed tax back, so you’ll need to show details of every job you’ve had during the period of your claim.
  • Copy of your photo ID. A driving licence or passport would be ideal.
  • Proof of address. Utility bills or bank statements work well for this.
  • Wage slips reaching up to 4 years back. Even if you’ve never claimed before, it may not be too late to get your overpaid tax back from previous years.
  • Other supporting documents. We’re talking about things like MOT certificates for your vehicle, P60s or P45s and so on. Don’t forget your paperwork from previous years, if you haven’t claimed your refund for those yet.

If you don't already have a Personal Tax Account (PTA), RIFT will show you how to get one set up.  PTAs don't cost anything, and they're a great way to keep all your tax information safely in one place. 

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HMRC Timescales

How long do security tax refunds take?

HMRC’s wheels can grind a little slowly sometimes, but they do keep rolling in the right direction. It usually takes about 8-10 weeks for the taxman to cough up your refund. Even so, the sooner you get your information to RIFT’s dedicated refund specialists, the quicker and smoother your refund claim process will be.

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Tax Relief

Why can security workers claim tax refunds?

HMRC only wants you to pay the tax you owe. When you’re paying for certain types of work costs from your own pocket, you can claim a tax refund based on what you’ve spent. For security workers, you might be using your own vehicle or public transport to travel to temporary workplaces. If your employer isn’t reimbursing you at least as much as HMRC says you should get, you can claim back the difference as a tax refund.

Depending on your situation, you might also be able to claim a tax refund when you pay for food, upkeep of your uniform, any licences or professional body fees you’re paying and more. Take a look at our free tax refund calculator for a quick idea of what you could be owed.

If you're self-employed, RIFT can even claim your rebate through your Self Assessment tax returns too.

Tax relief for security workers

How to start your security worker refund claim

With RIFT, getting your security worker tax rebate rolling is simple. All it takes are a few bits of information about you and your work costs. Based on that, we’ll quickly be able to tell you how much you’re owed. We’ll prepare and submit your claim, then chase the taxman until your refunds’ paid out. All you need to do it sit back and decide what to do with the money!

Security tax refunds

What's an SIA licence?

The Security Industry Authority was set up to make sure that UK security workers have the training and qualifications to do their jobs. That means it’s against the law to do most kinds of security work without the correct SIA licence. To get your licence, you’ll need to get some specialised training, take the right courses and pass the exams. Depending on what you do, you might need some First Aid training as well. With all that under your belt, you should be good to go.

If you're caught working security without a licence, you're looking at up to £5,000 in fines, and maybe even some prison time!

SIA Licence

I work in security. Do I need to apply for an SIA licence?

In most cases, if you've got a job in security, you need an SIA licence. This is true even if you're a self-employed security officer or not working on the front line. The main areas the SIA deals with are:

  • Manned guarding, covering everything from close protection and door supervision through to public space surveillance and security guard work.
  • Vehicle immobilisation, restriction and removal.
  • Key holding.
  • Security guard.

On top of this, the SIA's authority is currently being expanded to cover private investigations, security consultation and precognition agents.

SIA Licence

How much does a SIA Licence cost?

The basic cost of an SIA Licence is £220. You pay up-front and, just like a driving test, still have to cough up the cash if you fail and don't get your licence. You can appeal a failed result within 21 days, but you’ll be expected to fight your corner pretty hard to reverse the result.

Private Investigator

I'm a private investigator. Do I need an SIA licence?

As things stand now, you don't need an SIA licence to be a private investigator. However, that situation does get reviewed from time to time. Eventually, private investigators may well find themselves in the same boat as other security workers. As a heads-up, when the industry was looked at by the Home Office back in 2013, they defined private investigation work as:

  • Obtaining information about a particular person or about the activities or whereabouts of a particular person.
  • Obtaining information about the circumstances in which, or means by which, property has been lost or damaged.

Tax Rebates For Security

SIA licence tax refunds

You can get tax relief on your SIA licence costs whether you’re employed full-time in the industry or running your own firm as a self-employed security worker. You’ll renew your SIA licence every 3 years, but tax refunds can be claimed for up to 4 years back so there’s no reason to miss out if you haven’t claimed before.

Example: Stuart is employed as a security inspector, and is claiming a tax refund for his work-related expenses. He's claiming for:

  • Travel to temporary workplaces.
  • Laundry costs for his work uniform.
  • The application and renewal fees for his SIA licence.

The rules for security officer tax refunds allow Stuart to claim tax back on expenses over the last 4 years. Those 4 years cover both the initial £220 application fee and the £220 extra he paid to renew his licence 3 years later.

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Uniform Tax Refunds

Can security workers claim tax refunds on their uniform costs?

Many kinds of security work involve specialised clothing or safety gear. If you’re paying for the cleaning and upkeep of things like this yourself, you can include their costs as expenses in your tax refund claims. When you’re employed on a PAYE basis, how much you can claim is based on:

  • The cost of cleaning, repairing or replacing work clothes.
  • The cost of cleaning, repairing or replacing your essential safety gear.

It’s important to notice the word “essential” in there. You can’t claim a PAYE tax refund for any costs that aren’t wholly necessary for your work. Laundry costs for jacket with a company logo on it will probably count, as long as your employer requires you to wear it. The t-shirt you wore to work that one time won’t score you any tax back from HMRC, though. Also, under the PAYE tax refund rules, you can’t claim anything for the initial purchase costs of your uniforms, tools or equipment. Only their upkeep costs will count toward your tax refund.

Self-employed security workers have a whole different system to deal with. Since your pay isn’t taxed before you get it, you settle up with the taxman through the Self-Assessment tax return system. When you report your earnings and expenses to HMRC each year, you can use your essential work costs to bring down the amount of profit you’re being taxed on. Since buying your necessary clothing and gear counts against those profits, you can generally get tax relief on their initial purchase costs as well as their cleaning and repair.

Of course, getting back what HMRC owes you takes some paperwork. When it comes to things like uniform expenses, though, it doesn’t need to be a huge hassle. In fact, you can toss out the receipts for many of your costs and just use HMRC’s figures instead. Self-employed people can use the “simplified expenses” system, while those on PAYE can use “flat rate deductions”. Either way, you’re relying on the taxman’s estimates of what it costs to do your job, rather than your own records. You probably won’t get back everything you’re owed this way, but it cuts down on the bookkeeping.

Talk to RIFT if you're not sure what your best option is.

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Tax returns

RIFT: Self Assessment Tax returns done right

What is a tax return and how much tax do I owe? These are some of the top questions we answer at RIFT, and the answers depend on your basic circumstances. If you’re employed and paid PAYE then your tax is handled before you even get paid. Even so, it’s easy to end up paying too much if you’ve got essential work travel and other costs to deal with. If you’ve got other sources of income, you may find yourself filing Self Assessment tax returns as well, to report your additional earnings. These are the same kind of tax returns filed by self-employed people, who can’t use the PAYE system to handle their tax automatically.

Tax returns can be difficult to get right and downright dangerous to get wrong, even accidentally. If you need to submit one, whether it’s because you’re self-employed, the director of a company or for any other reason, talk to RIFT. With our help, you’ll never miss a deadline or an opportunity, and you’ll always be on HMRC’s good side.

Tax Return Service

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.

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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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