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How do I Claim A Tax Refund?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 27 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Tax Refund Tax Personal Allowance Paye

Q.

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?

(Ms J.L., 29 September 2008)

A.

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 Allowance

The 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 HMRC

Claiming 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.

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@tich - please see gov.uk link 'tax on your UK income if you live abroad' here which should help answer your question.
TheTaxGuide - 2-Jun-15 @ 12:35 PM
i have lived overseas since 1990 i worked for English company's and paid national contributions up to 1998 but i was only in the UK twice in that period for two weeks at a time can i claim my tax back for that period
tich - 29-May-15 @ 5:14 PM
i worked as a sole trader until end of jan 2013 and was unemployed until jun 2013 for tax yr 12/13 i paid over £2000 tax and wondered if i would be entitled to a rebate?
none - 7-Sep-14 @ 10:19 PM
Hi Can you help ? My daughter is a keep fit instructor and works for a private company. She delivers a number of classes and this takes its toll on her trainers which can be expensive to buy.Can she claim an allowance for her trainers as part of her job. ?? She is more or less full time and works around 30hrs a week.
lonegroover - 25-May-14 @ 12:30 PM
Could you please tell me how I may claim a refund for my mileage expenses for the year rather than have my tax code amended? Also, I intend to fill in a P87 form and am aware that I may claim 5p per mile per passenger, would this be included in other expenses?The total claim is below £2500.00 Many Thanks
Simon - 3-Apr-13 @ 4:25 AM
My husband has to wear a specific uniform for work which is provided for him but he has just been told he can claim back laundering costs of up to £68 per year. Is this true and how does he go about claiming it?
Heather - 5-Nov-12 @ 9:54 PM
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