How do I claim tax back?

Updated on 7 February 2019

Tax basics

This section tells you how to claim back overpaid tax from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

If you have paid too much tax, or ‘overpaid’ tax, and you complete a tax return, HMRC will send you a repayment once they have processed your tax return.

If you do not complete a tax return, you can still claim back overpaid tax.

What information is in this section?

Claiming back a straightforward overpayment of tax should usually be easy enough to do yourself. But exactly how you do it depends on the type of income you have.

Here we cover:

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Where can I find more information?

There is more detailed information on repayments that relate to specific groups in different sections of this website as follows:

  • If you are a pensioner and think you have overpaid tax, for example on your pension income or purchased life annuity income, you should go to the pensioners section.
  • If you are a migrant and you are leaving or have left the UK, you should go to the migrants section.
  • If you were employed, but have stopped working part way through the tax year, you should go to the employment section.
  • If you want information on refunds of overpaid or incorrectly paid National Insurance contributions, go to our National Insurance page.

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What are the time limits for claiming back tax?

You have four years from the end of the tax year in which the overpayment arose to claim a refund, as shown below. If a claim is not made within the time limit you will lose out on any refund that may be due and the tax year becomes 'closed' to claims.

Tax year 2014/15 (year ended 5 April 2015) – claim by 5 April 2019
Tax year 2015/16 (year ended 5 April 2016) – claim by 5 April 2020
Tax year 2016/17 (year ended 5 April 2017) – claim by 5 April 2021
Tax year 2017/18 (year ended 5 April 2018) – claim by 5 April 2022

Remember, even if you only want HMRC to look at one particular tax year, HMRC may take the opportunity to look over the four ‘open’ tax years. Therefore, you should review your position for all four tax years before contacting HMRC.

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