“Tax” can be a scary task for many people and it evokes a wide range of emotions. But, this doesn’t have to be the case as the grass may well be greener on the other side.

These FAQs will help you clarify any questions you may have about your tax refund in the UK.

1. What is a UK tax refund?

This is simply a repayment of tax that you have overpaid during the tax year as decided by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC.)

2. Why would I have overpaid?

There are many reasons for this, but the most common reasons are:

  • You have only worked for part of a tax year
  • You have worked for more than one employer in a tax year
  • You have had two or more jobs concurrently
  • You were taxed on a basic rate tax code

3. Who can make such a claim?

Anyone who has lived and worked in the UK may qualify for a tax refund.  There are certain criteria that you do need to consider like your tax code and whether or not you have received a refund before, but 97% of people are able to make a claim.

4. When can I claim back?

If you are still working in the UK you can do so at the end of any financial year.

If you have retired, become unemployed, become a student or if you have been made redundant and won’t be working again until the end of the tax year you may be able to claim back some of the tax you have paid. And, if you want to claim for any previous tax year, you can do so at any time during the tax year.

If you are leaving the country or have already left, you can still make a claim. You must make your claim during the financial year. So long as you submit a claim within 4 years of leaving the UK and provide the necessary documents, you will still qualify for a tax refund.

5. What is the financial year?

The financial year is also known as the tax year which runs from the 6th of April until the 5th of April the following year. Therefore, 2013/2014 tax year will run from the 6th April 2013 to the 5th April 2014.

6. How much can I claim?

If you earn under the tax free threshold and have paid tax you will be entitled to claim back all your tax. If you earn higher than the tax free threshold you will be entitled to claim back any overpaid tax.

You are able to claim back as far back as 4 years.

7. What do I need to claim back?

You will need to submit proof of your earnings and tax deductions for every employer you’ve had in each tax year for which you are claiming.

You need a P45 for each job you have had and you will also need a P60 from the company that you were employed by at the end of the tax year. You should get these from your employer or agency.

Take note that HM Revenue & Customs does not accept pay slips as proof of income and/or tax paid.

8. What is a P45 and P60 document?

A P45 document is a certificate of your income showing how much you earned and how much tax you paid on those earnings.

A P60 document is a certificate of income given to you at the end of the financial year indicating how much you have earned and how much tax you paid on those earnings.

9. How many years can I claim tax back for?

You’re able to make a claim for up to 4 years. Also, if you are leaving or have already left the UK, you can make a claim for the current tax year.

10. Do I need a National Insurance Number? (NINO)

A National Insurance number is a reference number and HM Revenue & Customs uses this to record where you have worked and what your earnings have been.

You have to get a permanent NINO once you start working, it’s the law. It’s also a requirement that you get a NINO in order for your tax refund to be processed.

If you have already left the UK, it is still advisable to apply for a NINO.

You shouldn’t let the “hassle” of claiming back your tax stop you from doing it. Prepare yourself properly and make sure you get what is owed to you.