How To Reclaim Overpaid PAYE Tax

Have you paid too much tax?

The Inland Revenue PAYE system for paying tax was established in the 1940’s.  Whilst the world of employment has changed beyond recognition, the way that tax is collected has remained broadly the same for almost seventy years.

With many people now having two jobs, working on a contract basis or changing jobs for more regularly, it is quite easy to end up paying too much tax.  Our guide explains when you may pay too much tax and how you go about claiming a tax rebate.

Why might you have paid too much tax?

There are a number of reasons that you may have paid too much tax.  Some of the most common reasons are:

  • You were only employed for part of the tax year
  • You were on an emergency tax code for a period
  • You went from working full time to part time
  • You changed from being employed to self-employed part way through the tax year
  • You were a student who only worked at holiday times
  • You had more than one job at the same time
  • Other income included within your tax code (savings or property income) has reduced, meaning your tax code is wrong

Often, your total tax will be wrong because your tax code is incorrect.  As your tax code is issued at the start of each tax year, it may be incorrect if any of your circumstances change.

Non UK Resident?
Claim Your Tax Back

How to claim a tax rebate for PAYE overpayments for this tax year

How you reclaim this year’s overpaid tax will depend on your circumstances.

  • If you are an employee, you should get in touch with your tax office and explain why you think you have paid too much tax.  If they do not have all the information needed to check your claim, they may ask you to send some documents to them.  Any refund will be included with your wages.
  • If you have become unemployed or if you have retired, your claim depends on your circumstances.  This will include whether you are claiming any benefits, whether you are planning to take on a new job etc.

How to claim a tax rebate for PAYE overpayments for previous tax years

If you believe you paid too much tax in a previous tax year, you should write to your Tax Office requesting a rebate.  Make sure that you include any relevant documentation about your earnings during the tax year for which you’re claiming, such as your P60 or P45.

The tax office will look into your query and work out how much they owe you.  You will receive a refund in the post.

There are time limits for making claims for rebates in previous tax years.  The time limit is generally four years from the end of the tax year, although it may be slightly longer from tax years between 2004/5 and 2006/7.


  1. Andrew Muir says:

    I have not paid tax for 4 years due to illness. I am now working part time for a company. My pay slip shows tax has been deducted but I know that my annual income will be below the tax threshhold. How do I reclaim the tax?

  2. steven says:

    i am currently living outside the uk, but have paid too much tax via emergency tax or not working the full year. How far back can i look into my tax from jan 2010? and how do i go about claiming it back?


  3. andyb says:

    i am a married man and have never utilised my partners tax allowance, can I claim back the additional tax I have paid if i had transferred the allowance.

    Also I pay tax a the 40% rate and have paid into a pension fund for the past 4 years at this rate, can I reclaim the tax allowance to go into my fund

  4. Mrs Z says:

    I paid tax on my 12 weeks half pay. This was paid to me in error and now company want this back. I have paid tax on the amount and going on career break for 2 years. I was paid SMP and 12 weeks half pay.If my work people recover the 12 weeks half pay, what will happen to the tax I have paid. I have lost out. My work owe me my holiday pay and they say they will deduct pay from there but my concern is about the tax i have paid already. When I get holiday pay, this will be a new tax year therefore I wouldnt be taxed anyway but what happens to the tax I already paid. I have been told it will be adjusted but I dont understand how this will work when i dont get paid anymore as I am on unpaid leave and then go onto 2 years career break. Please advise. Thanks

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