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HMRC: work expenses refunds

Do you have work-related expenses and want more money back in your pocket? HMRC says it is more cost effective to claim refunds directly though them.

HMRC: work expenses refunds

Date - 19th May 2023
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Did you know that while there were more than 800,000 claims for tax-relief on work-related expenses during the 2021/22 tax year, over 70% of claimants missed out on getting the full amount refunded because they used an agent to make their claim instead of claiming directly with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)?

As a police professional you may be aware you can claim tax relief on your work-related expenses, including uniforms or professional fees and subscriptions, but did you know the best way to claim it is directly from HMRC? It is quick and easy to do and it’s the only way you’re guaranteed to receive 100% of your claim – straight into your pocket.

HMRC wants to ensure more hard-working professionals, like you, are getting what you are entitled to - 100% of your claim back. HMRC has an online portal on GOV.UK so you can make a claim directly with HMRC. Going direct to HMRC will ensure you get 100% of your refund – with no small print to trip you up and no middleman taking a cut. 

Jonathan Athow, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Strategy and Tax Design, said:  “Coming directly to HMRC is the most efficient way of claiming tax relief on your work-related expenses and ensuring you get 100% of your claim back – fee-free. Every penny counts and we want to make sure you get everything you’re entitled to at a time when you need it most.” 

How do you go about claiming tax relief on your expenses? 

The first thing you need to do is check what you can claim. If you aren’t sure that you qualify for a repayment on your work-related expenses, it’s easy to check on GOV.UK. You’ll be able to access all you need to know about claiming a tax rebate and ensure that you include claims for all your expenses including: 

  • uniforms and work clothing 
  • buying work-related equipment 
  • professional fees, union memberships, and subscriptions 
  • using your own vehicle for work travel (excluding journey from home to work)   
  • working from home 

A quick check on GOV.UK will ensure you’re more than prepared to make your own claim. 

Make your claim: 

If you already have access to a Government Gateway account, you can go ahead and make your claim. If you need to set up an account, you can do it through GOV.UK - it’s straightforward, you only have to do it once and you’ll then be able to use it to make all your claims quickly and easily. Once you have an account set up, you’ll also be able to access all government digital services. 

Once you’ve submitted your claim, HMRC will contact you if they need written confirmation of any of the payments you’ve made, or if there’s anything else they need to check. By submitting your claim digitally, you can also track it by logging in to your Personal Tax Account.  

So why use HMRC? 

Quite simply: using HMRC to make your claim will guarantee you get all of your claim back. 

Last year the average claim for work-related expenses was £125. 

There are more than 120 active repayment agents in the UK. They submit claims to HMRC on behalf of their clients often for simple things that could be claimed directly (like work-related expenses) and charge a commission for their services. 

While it may seem like a quick and easy option to use a repayment agent to submit your claim for you, it will end up costing you. There is always a fee charged when using a repayment agent – often up to 50% of the value of the claim plus an administration charge.  

Using a repayment agent doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get your refund quicker as you’ll have to give them the same information you will need to make a claim directly through the HMRC online portal.  

Repayment agents are not part of HMRC or working on behalf of HMRC. They are independent businesses that submit repayment claims on your behalf and make a profit from their commissions.  

HMRC is also aware that some repayment agents can mislead customers into signing contracts without being clear about their fees or terms and conditions. Earlier this year, HMRC set out how it was changing how repayment agents can operate. This included updating its standard for agents to better protect customers from the unscrupulous tactics used by some operators and implementing a new registration process for repayment agents.  

If you are still considering using a repayment agent to make your claim instead of claiming directly with HMRC, it’s worth knowing that you are ultimately responsible for your own repayment claim.

So, before signing anything, please check the small print and make sure:  

  • you research the company before committing to using them 
  • you check Terms and Conditions of the contract 
  • you understand what commission the agent is taking for their services and how much you’re likely to receive back.

Finally, before committing to using a repayment agent, take your time to consider making the claim yourself through the HMRC online portal – it’s worth the five minutes you need to read the guidance on GOV.UK and set up an account. It’s the only way to guarantee you’ll receive what you deserve – your money straight back in your pocket. 

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Anonymous - Mon, 22 May 2023

Do you have to claim this every year or is it once you have claimed it your benefit from it all the time ?