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Leaving the UK? Get some extra cash by claiming your tax refund

by Kobus Van den Bergh | Sep 20, 2018
  • One in three taxpayers in the UK are due a tax refund and if you’ve recently stopped working in the UK, it’s likely that you’re one of them. Claiming back what’s due to you can be quite admin-heavy and complicated. Not to worry, we can help you determine whether you’re eligible to make a claim and ensure you get all the money that’s owed to you.
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    Why would you receive a tax refund?

    If you’ve lived and worked in the UK, it’s quite possible that you’re due a tax refund. In the UK, the amount of tax that is deducted from your salary is calculated with the assumption that you’re going to be employed for the total duration of the tax year. This means that if you stop working in the middle of a tax year, it’s possible that you’ve paid too much tax. To get this money back, you will need to submit a tax refund claim with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

    If you answer yes to any one of the following, there’s a good chance you’re due a tax refund:

    • Have you not used all of your tax-free personal allowances in the year that you leave the UK?
    • Were you on the wrong tax code?
    • Did you pay emergency tax?
    • Have you had multiple jobs in the tax year?

    You may claim your overpaid tax for the previous four years. So, if you haven’t done so yet, there could be a huge chunk of change waiting for you at HMRC.

    If you’ve already left the UK, you can still get your money back. Just make sure that you have a UK bank account to which HMRC can transfer the money. If you’ve closed your bank account, you can provide the banking details of a friend or family member as well.

    Want to make a tax refund claim?

    What happens when you’re owed a tax refund

    In some cases, if you’ve paid too much tax, HMRC will send you a P800 tax form. Your P800 form is a calculation prepared by HMRC, which will clearly show if you’ve paid too much tax and if you’re due a tax refund.

    However, don’t get too excited when you receive one of these forms. You can also receive a P800 if you’ve paid too little tax and owe HMRC money.

    It’s important that you check your P800 tax calculation carefully. HMRC may not have all the information they need to calculate your tax correctly or they may have inaccurate information.

    Do note that just because you haven’t received a P800, it doesn’t mean that you’re not due a tax refund. If you think you’ve paid too much tax, but haven’t receive a P800, you will need to demand the money back yourself.

    There are two ways to determine whether you’re due a tax refund. You can use an online tax calculator which will help you calculate the approximate amount that’s owed to you. Alternatively, you can speak to a tax refunds advisor who can provide you with a more accurate figure.

    See also: Don’t overpay on your tax! Make sure you’re on the right tax code

    How to go about making a claim

    First things first, you’re going to need your P60 and P45 tax forms. Depending on your employment circumstances, you’ll either receive a P60 tax form or a P45 tax form from your employer.

    P60 tax form

    Your P60 tax form contains information on the tax you’ve paid in the tax year, which runs from 6 April to 5 April the following year. You should receive your P60 by 31 May, on paper or electronically. You’ll use this form to claim any overpaid tax and to complete your Self- Assessment tax return (if applicable), so it’s imperative that your employer gives you a copy.

    P45 tax form

    If you’ve worked for an employer for only part of the tax year, then you’ll receive a P45 tax form instead of a P60 tax form. Your P45 indicates how much tax you’ve paid thus far in the relevant tax year. You should receive your P45 from your employer when you stop working for them, usually on your final day of employment. Your employer is required to give you this form; if they do not do so, you will need to request it from them.

    Once you have these forms, you can begin the process of claiming back your overpaid tax. If you have misplaced your tax forms, you will need to contact your employer and ask them to issue you with a statement of earnings as a substitute. If you are unable to do this, you can contact a tax agent who will assist with retrieving these documents.

    Have a tax refund question?

    How long does it take to receive your tax refund?

    It can take between eight to 12 weeks for a tax refund claim to be processed. The length of time is also affected by how busy the tax office is at the time of your claim and the nature of your claim. The more complicated your claim, the more likely it is that it will take longer to process.

    See also: HMRC demands that these UK expats submit tax returns

    Skip the paperwork and get your refund sooner

    If you’re in the process of packing up your life in the UK, the last thing you want to be stuck doing is spending your last few days searching for tax documents and dealing with HMRC. Let us take at least one thing off your “before I leave” to-do list by making a claim on your behalf.

    We will apply for your tax refund, follow up on your behalf and even source the relevant documentation for you. What’s more, we’ll ensure that you receive the maximum refund owed to you. We have a no refund, no fee guarantee. So, if you don’t get your refund, you won’t owe us a cent.


    We are one of the largest registered tax agents in the UK, having lodged over 250,000 successful tax refund claims for our clients. To find out if you’re eligible for a tax refund, complete our online tax refund claim form.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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