1. Why do I need to check my tax code?

Your tax code tells your employer how much tax to take off your wages. If your employer uses the wrong code, they’ll take the wrong amount of tax…….and you’ve guessed it, it’s nearly always too much! HMRC sends out a new tax code at least once each year, but sometimes several times a year. Your employer has to use the tax code they’re sent, and they’ve no idea if it’s right or not. Ultimately it’s your job to check your employer’s got the right code and taken the right amount of tax. It’s a common mistake to believe that because “I’m on PAYE”, your employer sorts your tax and takes the right amount. Over 1 in 3 of the tax code reviews we complete end up with our customers getting a tax refund, so it’s clear every taxpayer should check their tax code.

2. How often do I need to check my tax code?

Ideally you should check it every year. You get a new tax code every year so you should always check it’s correct. You also need to do this in case your employer isn’t taking enough tax, otherwise you’ll end up owing HMRC money and that could cause you financial difficulties in the future.

3. Why might I be due a tax refund?

There are a couple of reasons. The first is HMRC could have made a mistake with your tax code in the last 4 years.

The other is you might not know there are tax allowances, (or were tax allowances as some of them have gone now) you were entitled to ask for so you paid less tax. If you didn’t know about these allowances, there’s no way you could ask HMRC to put them in your tax code, so they give you the wrong code. That meant you paid more tax than you needed to.

The good news is it’s not too late to get your money back because HMRC lets us go back up to 4 years to claim any allowances you missed out on, or to correct any mistakes.

The problem you’ve got is unless you know what to look for, you won’t spot any mistakes and unless you know what allowances you were entitled to, you can’t ask HMRC to let you have them! That means any money you overpaid is going to stay in HMRC’s bank account, instead of yours! HMRC also gives you a deadline to claim your money back. If you miss it, they’ll keep your money!

4. Doesn’t my employer check my tax code?

We’re asked this nearly every day! Your employer has to use the tax code they’re given by HMRC. If the code’s wrong, your employer can’t do anything about it. It’s up to you to check the code and make sure HMRC has given them the right one. If it’s wrong, it’s your responsibility to get it corrected as soon as possible.

5. How Much Will I Have To Pay You?

Unless we can get you a refund, you won’t pay us anything.

Where we do help you get a refund, our fees are easy to understand. If your refund is up to £100, our fee is £38. If it’s over £100, the fee is 38p for each £1 refunded. In the event your refund is less than £38, you’ll have nothing more to pay us.

Any refund you receive for a current tax year that’s paid directly into your wages is free of charge – there will be nothing to pay us on this part of the refund.

We’ll also arrange a new tax code for you where needed. Any savings this makes for you next year and each year thereafter will be yours to keep. You won’t pay us a fee for these either.

6. Isn’t your fee expensive?

If you’re thinking this, it’s worth looking at what options you’ve got, apart from using us.

The first option is you do nothing. Over one-third of the reviews we finish end up with a refund, so the longer you do nothing, the more money you could be losing. Doing nothing is the same as paying 100% of your refund to HMRC. Now that’s really expensive!

The second option is you contact HMRC yourself. Take a look at Question 16 to see what this involves.

The third option is to use a high street accountant. They’ll charge you £100 – £150 per hour and you’ll have to pay this even if you don’t get a refund. If your case gets complicated and HMRC asks them lots of questions or even loses your file you’ll end up paying your accountant each time they complete work on your case. There’s no way of knowing how much it’s going to cost you until you’ve reached the end of the process, and by then it’s too late! It could easily turn out to be a very expensive process with nothing to show at the end.

The fourth option is to use another company. If you want to do this, here are a couple of useful tips…

Tip 1 Check for hidden charges – things like VAT being added, cheque handling fees, admin charges etc. You may have to read the “small print” very carefully to find them but they’ll be there!

Tip2Check what you get for your money – Ultimately, like most things in this life, you’ll get what you pay for.  At TRC we have dedicated teams working with our customers to maximise the value of any refund that may be due.  Everything is professionally checked before anything is submitted to HMRC and our clients are kept fully informed throughout the process. 

Other companies do not do this, they simply get you to fill out a form and then forward it to HMRC without checking if you are even due a claim.  They are literally taking their fee for forwarding your mail – nothing else. 

This is a very risky approach and can lead to clients owing HMRC money rather than getting it back.

Tip 3 – Check what happens if you end up owing tax – Again it’ll be in the small print, you’ll find no other company takes any responsibility for this, simply because all they’ve done is forward your mail without checking anything. 

Here att The Tax Refund Company we guarantee our work in 2 ways –

  1. If you get a bigger tax refund elsewhere (for the same period we have reviewed) we will give you the difference and
  2. If you end up owing tax as a direct result of our work we will pay any tax owed as a result of our error.

No one else can or will offer you this!

TIP 4 – Check who they work with – We are the “Approved Provider” for a number of large Trade Unions and professional bodies such as The Police Federations and Royal College of Nursing as well as major employers, benefit providers and payroll companies.  Each of these organisations goes through a stringent process before approving partner companies like ourselves.  If a company has not been approved by these types of organisations, ask yourself why.

7. How long does it take?

Our initial online review takes just a couple of minutes to answer the basic questions and we will tell you straight away if it’s worth having a full review. If it is, we’ll also give you an indication of the typical refund we secure for those who have given similar answers to you. If it is worth having a review, the time it takes depends on how complicated your claim is and how quickly you can respond to any further questions we may have for you. Obviously the quicker you respond the quicker we can complete your review. We usually assess any information received within 24 – 48 hours and contact you to let you know the outcome and next steps we are taking

We’ll let you know if we put in a refund claim to HMRC. They normally take 6 – 8 weeks to deal with simple claims, but more for complex claims can take much longer. If anyone tells you that you can get your refund quicker than this, we suggest you take it with a pinch of salt!  We send in thousands of refund claims every month and have been doing for over 30 years, so we know how long it really takes. It’s better we tell you the truth, rather than try to make out you’re going to get your money really quickly.

Remember, we only get paid when you get your refund, so we continue to liaise with HMRC after we have submitted your claim to ensure we get back every penny you are owed as soon as possible.

8. What if I’m not due a refund?

Once we’ve finished your review, we’ll write and tell you we’ve finished and that everything appears to be OK.

9. How will I know if I’ve got a refund?

You’ll get a letter directly from HMRC telling you how much you’re getting. They’ll also tell you they’re sending the refund to “your agent”. It will show your agent as PTS or The Tax Refund Company which is us.

10. If I get a refund, what happens to my cheque?

If they follow your instructions, HMRC will send us a cheque. We’ll take our fee and send the balance to you. You should get your cheque within 28 days of the date shown on the letter you’ve got from HMRC.

Once we’ve got your refund, we’ll check it’s correct and process it accordingly.  HMRC sometimes make errors and issue cheques for more than the refund that is due, but then always ask for it back, so the last thing we want to do is send you a refund and then have HMRC ask for it back!

11. Do you know how much I am going to get?

We’ve got a good idea but HMRC does the final calculation and then we check it before we send you the cheque.

12. How long have you been offering this service?

The service actually became available on the 19th August 1993, although in those days we were called Professional Taxation Services, until it seemed everyone thought they needed to be a doctor, solicitor, architect or something “professional” sounding to use the service. The business has changed hands since then and significant investment through our new owners has enabled us to implement a whole raft of new initiatives to help improve the service we offer you.

13. Where are your Terms & Conditions?

You can view them by clicking here

14. I want to use your service so what do I need to do?

It’s pretty straight forward.

Click on the “Apply Now” button at the top of your screen. You’ll need to answer some basic questions and we’ll start by telling you if it’s worth your time having a full tax review. If it isn’t we’ll tell you straight away. 

If it is, click the green “Claim Now” button and answer all the individual questions we show you. If you can’t answer a question or are unsure, you can add it to your “to do list”.

If you need help you can call our helpline on 0161 968 7345. 

15. I’m retired so can I still use your service?

If you’ve received more than one pension, or paid tax on your pension in the last 4 years, it’s definitely worth letting us check your tax code. Just click the green “Apply Now” button in the top right of your screen.

16. Can I check my tax code or find out if I am due a tax refund myself?

If you really know what you’re doing and can actually get through to HMRC, of course you can. But that assumes you’ve got lots of patience, plenty of time, and know exactly which areas of your tax you need to look at in each of the last 4 tax years. You’ll also need to know which allowances you were entitled to claim, where mistakes may have been made by HMRC or an employer, and most importantly, what questions you’re going to need to ask HMRC.

It also assumes you know enough about the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) rules so when you ask HMRC a question, you know the answers they give you are actually right, which may not always be the case! A survey of HMRC’s customer call centres by The Low Income Tax Reform Group found that HMRC consistently made mistakes – in some more complicated cases up to 80% of the answers they gave were wrong!

If you manage to get a refund yourself, you’ll need to know enough about tax to check it’s the right amount. If they pay you too much, you can be certain they’ll want it back in the future, even if you’ve spent it! It’s actually more likely they won’t pay you enough, so you might have missed out on a large refund we could have got back for you. Let’s be clear though, if they don’t send you enough, it’s most likely going to be your fault for not asking the right questions, not HMRC’s.

The other thing you need to be aware of (and this is something you never get told by all those people and websites who say you can do this yourself), is that by speaking directly to HMRC and asking them to open your file to check your tax, they might say you owe them money! They may be right, but the amount you owe could be much less than they’re telling you. Over 50% of the underpayment cases we look at are wrong! Unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll have no option but to pay them the amount they demand. They’ll probably just start taking it from your wages so you’ll have no choice.

Using our service, you’ll avoid these risks because we know exactly what we’re doing (having done this for well over 3 million taxpayers since 1993) and we’ll only contact HMRC if we think you’re owed a refund.


17. This review goes back over 4 years. I’ve only worked for my employer for a short time. Is it still worth me applying for your service?

Yes. If you’ve paid tax in any of the last 4 years, you’ve got nothing to lose.

18. How can you check my tax code or find out if I’m due a refund when you’re only asking a few questions?

We’ve worked hard to make this process really easy to follow and simple to use, so after the initial quick review, we’ll customise the questions so they’re bespoke to you. We don’t ask you for details we don’t need. If we did, we’d need to send you about 40 pages of questions, most of which won’t be relevant to you.

19. What if I can’t find or don’t have all the information you ask for?

Just give us what you can. There’s a To Do List you can use if you need to find information and come back to us. Just because you can’t provide all the information we ask for, doesn’t mean we can’t get you a refund. You should always answer as many questions as you can, even if you need to go away and find the information first. If you don’t finish the application and sign the forms at the end of the process, we won’t be able to finish your review and you will automatically lose money you’re owed by HMRC. If you need help, just call us.

20. What if you find I’ve not paid enough tax?

It’s very unlikely. However, if you’ve underpaid, we’ll ONLY tell you, not HMRC. You should then inform HMRC as when they spot you’ve underpaid at a later date through their own system, they’re likely to charge you interest and penalties. So it’s in your interest to contact them, but we can’t insist you do.

We also have an Underpayment Guarantee – we guarantee if you get an unexpected tax bill as a direct result of our work, we will pay the tax owed as a result of our error (T&C’s available here).

21. I’ve received my refund cheque directly from HMRC so what should I do?

HMRC have made a mistake and not followed your instructions which said to send the cheque to us, so please give us a call on 0161 968 7300 and let us know. We’ll ask you to send us the paperwork they sent you so we can make sure they’ve sent you the right amount.  Although it’s obvious, we must remind you that you’re still legally liable for our fee.

We strongly suggest you don’t spend any of the refund until you’ve contacted us and we’ve confirmed it’s correct. We often get refunds where HMRC has sent too much and we’ve had to send the cheque back and ask them to send us the right amount. HMRC would have eventually spotted their error, possibly up to a year or more later, and wanted the money back anyway, so this stops this from happening. HMRC always gets their money back, even if you’ve spent it, because ultimately it’s your job to check you’ve paid the right amount of tax.

Once we’ve checked it’s the right amount, we’ll send you an invoice for our fee, which must be paid within 14 days.

22. You’re asking if I’ve paid professional subscriptions – what are professional subscriptions?

These are generally payments you make to a professional body that relate to your job, keeping you up to date with current issues or training. In some cases, payments to a Trade Union are also classed as “professional subscriptions”. If you’re in any doubt, just tick the box and enter the details of the organisation you pay to anyway and our team will be able to let you know if it can be included as part of your claim.

23. Can my wife / husband / son / daughter/ mother / father / aunty / uncle / friend use your service even though they are not a member of my trade union / don’t work for the same company as me?

Yes, as long as they’ve paid tax!

24. How come my friend / colleague does the same job as me and got a refund and I didn’t?

Everyone has their own unique tax affairs and personal circumstances and so the tax they’ve paid may well be different. Just because your friend or colleague got a refund doesn’t mean you’re due one. Even if you filled out your claim form and answered all our questions with exactly the same information as your friend or colleague, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a refund just because they did. We’ve had people do that in the past and they’re always disappointed as even if we put in a refund claim to HMRC, they’ll always spot something’s wrong.

25. I’m using your service – how do I contact you by telephone?

Give us a call on 0161 968 7300. At really busy times, you may have to leave a message and we’ll call you back. It’s always helpful if you leave us a mobile number or a number where we can leave a message as when it’s particularly busy it’s difficult for us to keep calling you back.

26. I haven’t used your service yet and I still have some questions, so can I contact you by telephone?

Yes, we’d love to speak with you so just call us on 0161 968 7345 during our normal office hours, which are Monday to Friday 9 to 5.