If you have paid too much tax, you will be able to get a refund from HMRC. The mechanics for obtaining your refund depending on how the overpayment arose. Claims must be made within four years from the end of the tax year to which the refund relates.
If you pay tax under a self-assessment tax return, you may be due a refund if your income has fallen and the payments that you made on account are more than your actual tax liability for the tax year.
You can claim a refund when you complete your tax return. You will need to complete the ‘If you have paid too much tax’ section of the return. If you want the refund to go to you, you will need to provide details of your bank or building society account into which you want the refund to be made. Taxpayers without a bank or building society account can opt for a cheque to be sent to them or to a nominee whose details must be provided on the return. Where tax was originally paid by card, HMRC will attempt to pay the refund back to that card before making the payment to a bank or building society account.
HMRC ask taxpayers to allow four weeks to receive the payment before contacting them.
You can also claim a refund by signing into your self-assessment account online and selecting the ‘request a repayment’ option. Where a claim has been made in the tax return, it is not necessary to claim online.
If you have outstanding tax liabilities, any overpayment will first be set against these liabilities before a refund is made.
If you pay tax under PAYE, for example, on income from employment or a pension, an overpayment may arise if your tax code is incorrect if you worked at the start of the tax year but did not work for the full tax year.
If you have paid too much (or too little) tax, HMRC will send you a tax calculation letter (P800). If the letter indicates that you are owed a tax refund, you will be to claim the refund either online via the Gov.uk website or through the HMRC app.
A claim can be made online by signing into your personal tax account, selecting ‘Claim a refund’ and following the instructions. A refund can also be claimed via the HMRC app. To do this log into the app and select PAYE, which will show a summary of your tax position. If you are due a tax refund, the summary will show the amount of tax that HMRC owes you. You can make a refund claim by clicking the ‘Claim a refund’ button and following the instructions.
The repayment should be made within two weeks. However, if you have not received it in this time frame, HMRC asks that you wait four weeks before contacting them.
HMRC will pay interest on the overpaid tax from the date of payment to the date of refund. The rate is set at the base rate of less than 1% (subject to a minimum rate of 0.5%). From 21 February 2023, the repayment interest rate is 3%.
Beware of refund scams
Fraudsters may send scam texts or emails that promise tax rebates to trick people into providing their bank details. HMRC does not contact taxpayers by text or email to advise them that they are due a refund. If you think you are due a refund, check either your personal tax account or the app, and where one is due, claim through the correct channels.