Millions of UK workers could be entitled to unclaimed tax entitlements

As the UK shuts down to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, many of us are worrying about our job security and finances.

However, millions of UK workers may be missing out on tax entitlements which could help to take some of the pressure off.

1 in 3 UK taxpayers can get a tax rebate and many of these entitlements can be backdated to five years if they haven’t been claimed before.

Tony Mills, Director of Uniform Tax Rebate explains in more detail…

Who can claim tax entitlements?

Uniformed workers are at the heart of the current coronavirus crisis. While many white-collar workers can work from home, uniformed workers are either on the frontline in healthcare, supermarkets, deliveries, and emergency services, or are facing redundancy or furlough leave such as in the airline and hospitality industries.

If you wear a uniform at work and you’re expected to clean, repair and replace it, there’s a chance you might be able to claim a portion of tax back.

Basic-rate taxpayers can claim £12 and higher-rate taxpayers £24 per year, backdated to five years. This could mean a £60 boost for a basic-rate taxpayer.

Uniform allowances in healthcare are generally higher as HMRC recognises the need to use a hot wash to stop the spread of germs. Nurses of all grades, including midwives, are also entitled to a shoe and tights allowance if a prescribed style is compulsory, worth £18 a year for both.

Some workers could also be entitled to further tax relief if they’re a member of a professional society or organisation. Currently, staff at over 3,000 organisations across the UK are eligible if they’ve paid for their membership themselves and it relates to their role.

The exact amount you could be entitled to depends on the agreement you have in place between your union and the tax office. While some agreements allow tax relief on the full union fee, others only allow a small percentage.

It’s worthwhile finding out how much tax you’re allowed to claim back even if you longer work in the profession, as you could be entitled to a healthy windfall backdated up to five years.

It only takes a couple of minutes online to check what you could be entitled to using an online calculator. Refunds are usually issued within 1-3 months depending on HMRC’s processing times.

What are the top-paying occupations?

According to data held by Uniform Tax Rebate of successful tax claims since 2011, here are the top-paying occupations:

Occupation Value of tax refunds claimed Average tax refund Highest tax refund
Nurse £10,230,404 £174.21 £15,986.57
Care Assistant £3,961,982 £97.88 £6,268.26
Driver £2,319,112 £80.66 £9,006.00
Security £1,207,133 £117.30 £8,361.63
Chef £872,030 £102.41 £3,102.06
Sales £583,614 £63.91 £5,950.49
Cabin Crew £500,874 £191.76 £2,291.27
Police £395,491 £138.04 £5,556.22
Paramedic £361,305 £203.67 £5,710.37
Factory worker £258,892 £63.58 £2,394.20

 

Nurses, as a collective, have so far received the most tax refunds claimed from HMRC (totaling over £10 million in nine years), while paramedics and cabin crew receive the largest individual tax refunds, with an average claim totaling £203.67 and £191.76 respectively.

Beware of tax refund scams

Fraudsters are using the coronavirus crisis to exploit people’s anxiety over their finances and

capitalising on HMRC’s inconsistent digital presence to obtain money from unsuspecting taxpayers.

Fraudulent activity typically increases around the end of the tax year (around March/April time), so it’s essential to be mindful.

If you receive an electronic message (via email, social media or text) from HMRC you should be highly sceptical. On the rare occasion HMRC may contact you directly, they will send you a letter in the post.

Tax refund companies may also contact you by email about being owed a refund and these are usually legitimate, but you should do a Google search on the website before entering a claim

If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and delete. The same goes for texts, forward to 60599 and delete. If you were contacted by another method, report it to Action Fraud.

If you’ve given a fraudster your details, report the issue to your bank or card issuer immediately, explaining what’s happened. Your bank should act in your best interest and refund your money.