A Google search for something like ‘tax reclaim’ or ‘claim back tax’ will give you a page full of options, some of which will be more helpful than others. There are lots of companies out there who will offer to help you, most of them will charge you for the privilege, and not all of them will make it clear that they are charging you.
I tried it, and got some paperwork through from a company called ‘The Entitlement Agency’, the one that appeared at the top of the list, probably because they are paying google to advertise their services. It looked very official and asked me to complete a fact-find and send it back to them along with any P60s or P45s that were relevant to my claim.
Under the ‘What will happen’ section of the form I was then told that ‘The Entitlement Agency will retain 17% excluding VAT for processing and administration.’
They are entitled to charge me. I’m not for a minute saying that they don’t have the right to charge for the work that they are doing. Unfortunately there are lots of people who will complete the forms, sign them and send them off and then wonder why they got less tax refunded that they thought they were entitled to.
There are also lots of ways to get the money you are owed back without paying away 17% of it. A simple phone call to HMRC will in many cases kick-start the process that will allow to you make a reclaim.
So we all need to be careful. There’s no point spending time claiming your money back from HMRC only to find out that somebody else is keeping nearly 20% of it.
And there are lots of other websites out there working in the same way and charging for services that you can get for nothing if you are just a bit more careful when carrying out an initial search. Take care before you sign anything, read the small print, and take the time to make sure you know who you’re asking to work for you.