Tax is something that is a certainty in life, as former US President Benjamin Franklin said, but there are lots of ways you can reduce the amount of tax you have to pay by claiming for expenses you may not realise you could.
Those of us who are self-employed or own businesses are more likely to claim the majority of costs and expenses against tax that we can. But what many PAYE employees do not realise is that they can also claim certain expenses if they are not covered by their employer, and they are specifically relevant to their work.
What can be claimed?
For example, let’s say you are a nurse, an engineer, a psychologist or simply an employee who happens to use their car for work purposes sometimes. In each of these cases, there are likely to be things that you are paying for that you could claim if your employer is not repaying you for them.
It could be fees you pay to be a part of a professional institution, or professional indemnity insurance, or uniforms that you need to buy yourself, shoes, books you need to study for your work, toys that you may need to use to encourage children to talk to you in the case of a child psychologist, for instance. The list would include anything and everything that you need to buy yourself that solely relates to your work.
While many of these may be relatively small amounts individually, they will soon add up, and if you consider how much they add up to over a long period of time, there is every reason to reclaim that money.
How do you claim them?
Understandably, many people are nervous about dealing with the taxman because they think automatically that it is going to end up costing them money. But that is not always the case. Reclaiming these amounts that are legitimate allowances could put a significant amount of money back into your pocket.
To claim these, you would need to do a self-assessment form. This is something many people who pay tax through PAYE would not be familiar with. You can speak to your accountant for more information if you need it, or you can ask HMRC directly about how you claim for these costs on your self-assessment.
Don’t be nervous, and go back as many years as you can
You do not need to be nervous when dealing with the tax office as you are not doing anything wrong. This is money you are owed, and you would be doing yourself a disservice by not getting this money back into your own pocket.
If you have not been claiming this money back before, then you can go back up to four previous tax years. This means you can reclaim overpaid tax from 2018/19 if you make the claim before April 5, 2023. If you had an average of £1,000 that you could have reclaimed for each of these years, then you would get a £4,000 rebate from the taxman by making the claim.
In the current economic climate, even relatively small amounts that you can reclaim will make a difference. But remember, you must have proof of the purchases you made. Usually these would need to be receipts, but if you do not have these, then you can prove any payments made using bank statements if you need to. If you bought anything online, you may have records there in your email or, say, an Amazon account.
We can help you
If you are unsure about whether you can claim some of the expenses for your work or want to know you have claimed everything that it is possible to claim, then please get in touch with us and we will help you through the process.