Claiming Back Tax When Working Abroad

With the population of the UK increasing to 61 million and unemployment rising rapidly, many people are leaving the UK to work abroad. Our tax experts answer some common tax questions on this topic:


Am I due a tax refund when leaving the country to work abroad?
As you are leaving the UK part way through the tax year you can claim a refund on the tax and income for the year.

Can I claim all my tax back when leaving the UK?
If you have earned less than the annual tax free allowance (for 2009/2010 this is £6,475) then you can claim back all the tax you have paid. If your income for the tax year was over, you will be able to apply for a portion back. For example if you earn £10,000 between April 5th (the start of the tax year) and the date you leave the UK and if you have paid £2,000 in income tax, you will be due a tax refund of £1,207.

How can I calculate my tax refund?
When you finish working, your employer in the UK should provide you with a P45. The P45 will state the amount that you earned and how much you paid in tax for the fiscal year in question. Input these amounts into our tax rebate calculator which will provide an estimate of any refund due.

What about tax rebates for previous years?
If you have been with the same employer for the whole tax year, it is less likely that you will be due a refund. You can still check however. Each April, if you are working, you will be given a P60 from your employer. The furthest in arrears that you can claim is 6 years.

When can I claim my tax refund?
As soon as you are given your P45 from your employer you can claim your tax refund. If you are not given a P45 or lose it, you can always ask your former employer to provide a statement of earnings, which will act as a sufficient replacement

What other forms do I need to claim my tax refund when leaving the UK to work abroad?
You should complete a form P85 from the Inland Revenue. Include this with any tax documents you have, together with a covering letter.

How long does it take to claim my tax back?
It depends on your tax office but refunds usually take between 4-6 weeks. Often there are backlogs and as a result it can take up to 90 days for refunds to be processed.

If you have any other questions, watch the short explainer video below or alternatively ask a question in the comments and we’ll personally answer it:





  1. irmantas says:


    I’m next month permanently leaving UK, for how many years I can claim Tax Back.
    I was worked in same company 7 years
    Thank you

    • DavidTaxFix says:

      Usually the tax refund will be for the year in which you leave the UK, however we can check all other eligible years to see if you might be due a refund for any of those years also.

  2. Dorian says:

    I have been working in the UK since Feb 2012 continously up to now Oct 2014. I am about to leave the UK permanently. Im eligible of tax return and if yes how much roughly would that be? My monthly salary is 2200 pounds
    thank you

    • DavidTaxFix says:

      The amount of your tax refund would depend on how much you earned between the start of the tax year (April 6th) and when you stop working. If you have these total amounts, we can provide an estimate. When you finish working, you will be given a P45. When you have your P45, you can make your claim here.

  3. Jolanka says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    We are a couple that started to work in London in November 2013 leaving the UK permanently in December, we already have the ticket for the 2nd of December and both of us would like to get tax return. Our last day will be the 30th of November, but we are not going to be in the country by the time we receive our p45.
    Can we manage to do this electronically, so we wouldn’t need to come back?

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind regards,


    • DavidTaxFix says:

      Could you ask your employer to forward the P45 to your address in your home country? You could then submit your claim with us. Unfortunately HMRC does not accept scanned or electronic documents, so we would need you to submit your claim by post.

  4. Errol says:

    Dear sir,
    My name is Errol and I worked in the UK from February 2005 to November 2006 and left the UK permanently.I worked for Dial A Phone Ltd in Kentish Town,London.I’ve been writing to so many places who claims to help get the tax and NI back but all of them refused to help saying it’s been six years since I left the UK and it’s not possible.But when I went through your website it said that the time limit on making a claim is 6 years. So if you have left the UK anytime in the last 6 years you can still make a claim.
    I’m a currently living in Sri Lanka and going through a rough patch financially.Why I took time to make an attempt to claim is because I was unaware of the fact that I could claim tax.Please see what you could do to help me claim at least part of it.Appreciate very much if you could help me on this situation on compassionate grounds.

    Thanks and best regards


  5. Michael Taylor says:

    I have been working outside the uk for several years now usually for 3 months at a time then returning home for 2 weeks and then away for another 3 months, I am self employed and my accountant says that I cannot claim any tax refund for the periods that I am away could you tell me if this is true or not?

  6. james Willliams says:

    I worked in Asia for eight months coming home for 3 weeks christmas, i have been payed from the uk durring al this period. Am i entitled to any tax relief for this period out of uk?

    • TaxFix says:

      james Willliams: If you left the UK you can claim a tax rebate. When you finished working you should have been given a P45. When you have your P45 we can help you claim your tax rebate at the following link:

  7. yvonne says:

    I been working in uk from 2004 to 2008. When i left the uk in 2008, i file for a reclaim of of my tax. The HM revenue only paid me back for the amt i have paid in 2008. They did not pay what i have contributed between 2004 to 2007. However, the have taken my P45 also. Is there anyway i could claim my money from 2004 to 2007?

    • TaxFix says:

      yvonne: Usually the refund will only be for the year you leave the UK. The deadline has passed for your claims anyhow, sorry.

  8. John nimmo says:

    Been in southern ireland for 12 years can I claim any tax back from when I worked in the uk

  9. Jack says:


    I live in the UK and have been working in Angola for a UK company for 18 months. Do I need to continue paying national insurance contributions? as I have been working outside the UK for more than 52 weeks.

    Many Thanks


  10. Wassila says:

    I m algerian and I ll leave the UK forever I d like to know if I can have all money tax I paid last 7 years
    best regards

    • TaxFix says:

      Wassila: If you are leaving the country you can claim a tax refund, though you will not be able to claim it all back. When you stop working you will be given a P45, when you have this you can make your claim.

  11. Gary Longshaw says:

    I am a South African Citizen living in South Africa, but I work for a company based in the UK (I started with them in January this year). They are paying me from the UK, but are deducting Tax and NI from me in the UK? I can get no benefit from these deductions, and have no way of reclaiming them, what can I do?

  12. michael avent says:

    Ive been working abroad for 3 years,returning to the uk every 6 weeks for a duration of 3 weeks, basically a 6/3 rota, can i claim a tax refund

  13. steven says:

    hi I am going to work in new Zealand. im self employed at the minute but will be going to work to a company in new Zealand. will I be able to get a refund on the tax I will be paying in new Zealand and how do I go about getting it. thanks

  14. jocky says:

    if i am working in brazil on a 6 on and 3 off rota can i claim my tax back?(coming home in the 3.
    (1 year job)

  15. Allison says:

    I worked in England for 6 months in 2006 and didn’t file my taxes upon leaving the county. Is it too late to file now??? Also, I hold dual citizenship (Canadian and EU) – would I still be eligible to get money back?

  16. wendy says:

    my husband has been offerred a job in Italy for a min of 6 months. Will he stil pay Uk tax even if pais into an Italian bank account

  17. Sue says:

    I am likely to spend up to 9 motnhs on a placement at my Employers Head office in the USA during which time I will still be paid in the UK. What are the taxation rules on this please.

  18. Jamie says:

    I worked in holland for just under 2 years, can I claim the tax I paid while there back?

  19. Mark Teske says:

    Hi There
    I am a German Passport holder, and have lived in the UK for 5 years, before heading off to Australia on a working holiday visa for a year, and am now in New Zealand a third of the way through this 1 year year visa. I did not become a “UK Resident” – but resided nearly all the time in the UK barring holidays for a few months here and there. I left in June ’11, and so I reckon I will be due back all my tax, as my salary in total for the 3 months after 5 April 2011 would be less than the threashhold. Can you confirm this. Also, I see something relting to an NI rebate too? My intention is to return to the UK and resume life as normal after the end of my year visa in NZ. Will claiming any of this be detrimental to the process of starting back up again? Thanks !

  20. Dave. W says:

    I have been an expat for 12 years and my Contract has recently finished in the Middle East.

    I have recently been offered a new Job (via a recruitment agent) in India. The Company that I would be representing have said that they want the recruitment agent to pay me themselves from the UK. They have also said that they wish me to set up a limited Company (an off the shelf Company)?

    Will I be subject to double taxation agreements, i.e. will I be subject to pay tax? I have not worked in the UK since year 2000.

    I hope this is clear and you can provide me with some answers?

    I am confused why they ask me to set up a company and why the Company want to pay me through the agent? Is this all normal procedure?

  21. Ian says:

    I’m from England and work in China, I spend 5 weeks in China then 2 weeks in England alternate. I spend around 260 days a year in China do I qualify for tax rebate.

  22. Brian Haddock says:

    I work for an English Holiday Company in Italy just for 5 months of the summer. I am contracted on an ‘unmeasured hours’ contract.
    This equates most months to well under the NMW for the UK of £6.08p/hr.
    My Company say it is not applicable as I am only employed for abroad, but I have read that NMW is still applicable at the rate in Italy, which still around the equivalent to the UK.
    Any ideas Please

  23. ella says:

    Can i cash my uk tax rebate in my portugese bank?

  24. Vamsikrishna says:

    I worked in UK for more han five years and going back to India. Whther i am eligible to claim tax refund from UK tax office. Please help me with suitable reply at the earliest

  25. Sharon says:

    I have lived outside the uk for 20 years and am returning to work after 20 years for 1 month, will i need to pay tax? Im British, an live already years in Portugal

  26. sandra says:

    hi,I would like to aask,can I claim tax rebeate from 2007 till 2012 years ?I am not working 2 years for sickness.thanks for answer

  27. Ivana says:

    Hi!I live in uk but i work for an italian company. I get the salary in an italian account.
    As a single mum on a low income can i still claim working tax credit? Thanks for the help

  28. Neil Sullingston says:

    I am being sent abroad with my company to Korea.
    They have a dual taxation agreement and I will have the Korean tax paid for me by my company.
    I will be leaving around September this year and will be returning every 6 weeks for 2 weeks (6/2 rotation). This trip will be until June 2014.

    Can you please advise me if I will be able to claim anything back for the whole duration. I will be paid out fo Singapore so in fact there will be no wages paid in the uk for this duration.

    please advise.

  29. Hayley says:

    I’m now finishing workin in the uk, and goin to be working on a cruise ship next month, I will be away for 3 months at first then will be home for a month then away again for 4 and half months then home for 6 weeks. Will I have to pay tax whilst I’m working away.

  30. Tim says:

    Hi I am employed by a British company but deployed to work overseas, this has been for a full tax year with me only returning to the UK less than 90 days, am I therefore entitled to claim back my income tax?
    Cheers, Tim

  31. Keisha says:

    How do I go about claiming back my NI for the pass year?

  32. andy says:

    I am a uk citizen I am leaving the country for 12 months can I claim back tax for the last 12 months this is what I have been told? also there are periods between 2007 an 2010 where i have been out oif the country for 3 months or longer am i entitled to claim anything back from these times?

  33. Mike says:

    What are the uk tax regulations on south Africans working in the north sea oil and gas sector?

  34. Graham says:

    I have lived and worked outside of the UK for 4 years. I have been offered a job with a British company, but working in Afghanistan. I am told that because my salary will be paid in the UK I will have to pay Income Tax and NI. I am not resident in the UK and have visited for only 2 weeks in 4 years. Is this correct, do I have to pay those taxes? I reside in Hong Kong with my wife. Any help would be gratefully received.

  35. R E SIMONS says:

    My son has been working in Italy for 12 years or so, he only worked in the UK for a short time after university. With employment in Italy not so stable should he have been paying some National Insurance stamp to give him some sort of benefits should he return to the UK either now or in the future.

  36. mat tyers says:

    i live in ireland and have worked n the uk since october paying 20% tax i`m moving back can i claim back my tax

  37. Stephen Simpson says:

    I recently spent three years and 1 week working in Singapore for the Royal Navy. I continued to pay the same amount of tax and national insurance as I would of if I was working and living in the UK.
    Can i claim any of the tax / national insurance back i paid over the 3 years?

  38. kp star says:

    i’m working outside of the uk for a whole tax year but will be paying uk tax. can i claim my tax back

  39. Adrian says:

    Do I pay tax on my interest in my bank accounts while I’m living abroad?

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