Anyone planning to claim tax relief on work-related expenses should submit claims directly with the tax authority and avoid using repayment agents, HMRC warns
Only 800,000 taxpayers claimed refunds for work expenses during the 2021-22 tax year, but while the average claim was £125, over 70% of claimants used an agent to make their claim instead of claiming directly with HMRC.
The majority of claims were made through tax refund agent, who charged up to 50% of the claim as commission.
Tax relief can be claimed for expenses including uniforms and work clothing, buying work-related equipment, professional fees, union memberships, and subscriptions, and using their own vehicle for work travel, excluding journeys from home to work.
‘It is quick and easy to claim a tax refund directly through HMRC’s online portal on gov.uk, and the only way to guarantee receiving 100% of the repayment – with no small print and no middlemen taking a cut,’ HMRC said.
Victoria Atkins, Financial Secretary to The Treasury said: ‘Nobody should miss out on the full claim of a tax rebate – and by going straight to HMRC people can avoid being left out of pocket because of unscrupulous repayments agents.
‘Thanks to our spring Budget reforms if someone no longer wants an agent involved in their claim, they’ll be able to cancel it so any future rebates will go to the taxpayer in full.’
Submitting a claim through HMRC’s online portal is straightforward and takes about 15 minutes. Taxpayers who already have a Government Gateway account can follow the step-by-step guidance to submit their claim.
For taxpayers who are considering using a repayment agent, HMRC is reminding them to be aware that an agent always charges for services – in some cases up to 50% of the value of the claim. And while initially it may seem simpler, they will need to supply the agent with the same information they could use to make the claim themselves using HMRC’s free online portal.
‘It is important customers understand what they are signing up to,’ HMRC said. ‘Before signing a contract with a repayment agent, they should research the company and always check the small print to ensure they understand what commission is being charged and how much of their tax refund they are likely to receive back.’