The short answer to this question is “no”. HMRC cannot simply put any overpaid income tax back into your bank account. You need to make an application using the official process. Tax rebates are not just for businesses, but apply to any UK taxpayers that meet the criteria.

Am I due a tax rebate?

The tax system is set up with fairness in mind. There is an entire section of the regulations about compensating people for any tax they may have paid unnecessarily. You may not even know that you have. And you wouldn’t be alone in this, thousands of taxpayers miss out on their tax rebates every year. Meaning that thousands of pounds are in HMRC’s bank account, instead of yours.

These are only a few of the many reasons you may be due a tax rebate:

  • The wrong tax code is used by your employer.
  • An incorrect tax code is assigned to you by HMRC.
  • Emergency tax is applied to your earnings at the start of a new job.
  • You have more than one job, whatever the combination of employed/self-employed and part time/full time.
  • Pensioners that have more than one occupational pension.
  • You get Employment and Support Allowance, or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • You’re in a civil partnership or marriage with a partner born before April 6th

And this is before we’ve even mentioned the work expenses and allowances tax relief that’s available.

Lots of these involve confusion around where your Personal Allowance is allocated. Some of them are very specifically because of an error on someone’s part. All of them need a little bit of unpicking and you may feel more confident seeking the help of a professional. An accountant or tax rebate specialist will be able to look at your whole financial situation and give you the best advice. It is perfectly acceptable to get in touch with a tax rebate inquiry, even if you don’t normally need their services.

Will HMRC tell me if they know I’m due a tax rebate?

Yes, if HMRC see that you have overpaid somehow, they will send you a P800 letter in the post after the end of the financial year. This is the 5th April, so people start receiving P800s towards the end of November. There are instructions to claim your refund online.

Certain circumstances mean that you cannot use the online service, this is all explained in your documents from HMRC.

HMRC only send information about tax rebates through the post. Any emails, messages or phone calls claiming to be HMRC arranging a rebate are scams. Dangerous scams that target particular people. There only aim is to get at your money and/or personal information.  Do not respond, do not open any attachments or links and report these to

What if I think I’ve overpaid, but HMRC hasn’t been in touch?

Perhaps you’ve noticed you’re paying a lot more tax out of your wages than usual. Maybe your tax code has changed, but your circumstances are just the same. If you suspect that you’re paying too much income tax, give HMRC a call on 0300 200 3300. Have your National Insurance number to hand before you make the call.

HMRC make mistakes too and they don’t catch everyone’s tax overpayment. In which case, they actually want you to get in touch. Just talk to them and see what they say. If they agree with you, then they send a P800 in the post and you follow the same procedure. And it is best not just to wait for them to find out because there are some tax rebate deadlines. Once they’ve passed, your claim will be invalid and you lose the money, legitimate claim or not.

How quickly do you get your tax rebate from HMRC?

If you follow your P800 instructions and apply online, within 45 days of its receipt, your tax rebate will be transferred back into your account within five working days. Then just allow for your bank’s processing time and you’ll be able to access it.

It’s definitely worth planning half an hour when you can sit down and have think about your situation. Look through your pay statements, see if anything has changed or if there’s anything you don’t understand. HRMC are there to help, so you can ask them most tax related question and their phone line experts will be able to find the answer.