Reclaiming tax if you've overpaid through your job

Sometimes when you're working you can end up paying too much Income Tax particularly if you change jobs often or have more than one job at the same time. If you think you've paid too much tax you can take some simple steps to apply for a refund.

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When might you have overpaid tax through your job?

You may have paid too much tax if:

  • you started a new job and had an emergency tax code for a while
  • your employer was using the wrong tax code
  • you were only employed for part of the year
  • you're a student who only worked at holiday times
  • you had more than one job at the same time
  • other income you have that is taxed through your tax code for example, savings/investment income has reduced since you last told HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about it - which means the amount of income included in your tax code is too high
  • you stopped working and didn't get any taxable earnings or benefits for the rest of the tax year
  • your circumstances changed - for example you changed from full to part-time working or became self-employed
  • you were made redundant
  • you received payments after leaving such as arrears of pay, payments in lieu of notice, unpaid holiday pay, redundancy or termination payments including compensation for loss of office or employment

PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and tax codes

Your tax code is issued by HMRC and based on information they have about your income and entitlement to allowances. You'll find it on your PAYE Coding Notice (it's usually sent to you before the start of the tax year and it may also be sent to you at other times if something has changed). Not everyone gets a Coding Notice but the code can also be found on your P45 or your payslip. It tells your employer what your tax-free allowances are and how much tax to deduct from your wages before you get paid. This way of paying tax is called PAYE. If you have several jobs or you work and get a pension you may have more than one tax code. It's important to know what your tax code means so that you can check that you are paying the right amount of tax.

Understanding your tax code

If you have more than one tax code

Understanding your PAYE Coding Notice

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How to reclaim PAYE overpayments

How you reclaim overpaid tax will depend on your circumstances.

If you're an employee

You can telephone or write to tell HMRC why you think you've paid too much tax. They may already have everything they need to check your claim. If not, they'll tell you what information they need.

This Year

Any refund due for this year will be included with your wages.

Contact HMRC

Previous Years

If you've paid too much tax for previous years, HMRC will send you a P800 Tax Calculation and any refund you may be due by the September after the tax year. You do not need to send us your P60 certificate.

If you think you are due a repayment and HMRC has not notified you by the September after the tax year then you can telephone or write to tell HMRC why you think you've paid too much tax

In most cases you'll get back the tax you've overpaid as long as you claim on time. Read the section 'Time limits for claiming a tax refund through PAYE'

If you've become unemployed or retired

If you've been working but have recently become unemployed or retired read the guide below to find out how to claim your tax refund.

How to claim a tax refund when you stop working

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Time limits for claiming a tax refund through PAYE

The time limits for claiming a refund are shown in the table below. If you don't make a claim within the time limit you'll miss out on any refund due.

Time limits for claiming back PAYE tax

Tax year Tax year ended on You must claim by:
2010 to 11 5 April 2011 5 April 2015
2011 to 12 5 April 2012 5 April 2016
2012 to 13 5 April 2013 5 April 2017
2013 to 14 5 April 2014 5 April 2018

Contact HMRC

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How to reclaim overpaid Self Assessment tax

If you think you've paid too much tax under Self Assessment follow the link below to find out how to reclaim it. If you're due tax back HMRC will make a repayment by:

  • putting it in your Self Assessment account to set against future tax bills
  • repayment direct to your bank or building society account
  • cheque

Time limits for claiming a Self Assessment tax refund

The time limits for claiming a refund are shown in the table below. If you don't make a claim within the time limit you'll miss out on any refund due. But if HMRC has made a mistake you can get extra time.

Time limits for claiming back Self Assessment tax

Tax year Tax year ended on You must claim by:
2010 to 11 5 April 2011 5 April 2015
2011 to 12 5 April 2012 5 April 2016
2012 to 13 5 April 2013 5 April 2017
2013 to 14 5 April 2014 5 April 2018

Correcting your tax return and claiming any refund

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More useful links

Working and paying tax

Reclaiming tax if you've overpaid through your pension

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