How do I Claim A Tax Refund?
I have just finished work and returned to university to study. I have been advised that, as I have only worked half the tax year, I am entitled to a tax refund. How do I go about claiming this back?
Many students think that they are exempt from income tax or National Insurance Contributions simply because they are in education. However, this is not the case. In reality, everyone suffers the same tax liabilities – and, as such, we are all entitled to the same non-taxable personal allowance.
As most students work only part-time, it is common for them to earn less than this personal allowance over the course of a tax year but are taxed incorrectly. Similarly, many students work only part of the year and may therefore be eligible for a tax refund for the same reasons. This is even more likely to be the case if you had an emergency tax code for some of your working time.
Personal AllowanceThe non-taxable Personal Allowance for those below 65 is set at £11,850 for the 2018-19 tax year which has been raised from £11,500 (2017-18). If you have earned less than this while working, regardless of the portion of the year for which you worked, then you will definitely be entitled to a refund. Frequently, PAYE tax-payers have their entire salary taxed without the allowances being taken into account, and it is therefore worth investigating whether you are eligible a tax refund even if you have worked for the whole year.
Contact HMRCClaiming a tax refund now that you have returned to study is slightly more complex than the process of claiming a tax refund via PAYE. You should first ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for a copy of form P50, entitled 'Claiming tax back when you have stopped working'. You must send this to your tax office, enclosing Parts 2 and 3 of your form P45. HMRC will then assess your claim and pay any refund via post. They will also send you a new P45.
Finally, it is important to clarify the criteria for eligibility for these sorts of refunds. While working only part of the year may entitle you to a tax refund, this will only be the case if you did not receive any taxable state benefits during the period after you had stopped working. This might include Jobseeker's Allowance or some Income Support payments.