How do I claim any tax back?

Updated on 31 March 2022


This page refers you to further information on what to do if you have paid too much tax on your pension income and the time limits for making a claim for a refund of the overpayment.

Illustration of people and a clipboard with the words tax refund written on it

Why might I pay too much tax and need to get a refund?

If you receive employment income or pension income and pay tax through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system you may sometimes pay too much tax. There are various reasons for this.

One particular reason as a pensioner is the use of an emergency tax code if you take money flexibly out of your pension – see our separate guidance on flexible pensions for more information. If you have overpaid tax and you have taken a lump sum from a defined benefit scheme (sometimes known as trivial commutation), look at our separate guidance on trivial commutation.

Together with a P800 tax calculation, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may send you a tax repayment automatically after the end of the tax year. It is important that you check the repayment is correct. You might not need to claim a refund of tax.

However, sometimes you might need to contact HMRC to get your tax sorted out and claim a refund. Read on to find out more.

Where can I find information about getting a tax refund?

UK pensions are taxed under Pay As You Earn (PAYE). This is the same system of deducting tax as applies to employees. You will find details of how to claim back tax overpaid through PAYE on wages and pensions in the current and previous tax years in our tax basics section.

This includes what information you need to gather before contacting HMRC and what records you should keep, together with the time limits for claiming a repayment.

How do I claim back overpaid tax on purchased life annuity income?

We explain purchased life annuities on the page How is my tax collected?.

Each year you will receive a statement showing the total sum paid to you showing the capital amount (non-taxable), the income amount (taxable) and the tax deducted.

If your total taxable income is less than your personal allowance, you can ask to receive your purchased life annuity income free of tax. This can be done by completing form R89 (Application to receive an annuity without tax taken off), available on GOV.UK.

To make a claim for a refund of tax overpaid on a purchased life annuity, you should follow the guidance in the tax basics section on how to claim tax back on savings income.

Tax guides

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