How to claim personal tax relief

Part of a HMRC statement that says HMRC owes you

It is estimated that over £1 billion in tax relief for individuals goes unclaimed every year with the majority of people being paid via Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

With inflation hitting a terrifying 40-year high of 9.4% and still looking to increase in just a couple of months, financial help is needed more than ever. This follows soaring fuel, energy and food prices and an increase in national insurance contributions (NIC).

Did you know a UK taxpayer can claim tax relief on Gift Aid charity donations and pension contributions when they pay more than the basic rate of tax? Claims can be made against any of the previous 4 tax years.

If you are paid over £25,689 in Scotland or over £50,271 in the rest of the UK, you can claim tax relief. For higher rate taxpayers (40%), they can claim back 25% on all Gift Aided donations and eligible pension contributions.

An example of someone in England with a salary of £55,000

If they earned £55,000 per year over the last 4 tax years, with the standard personal allowance and minimum pension contributions, they could claim £1,599 back in tax relief.

Financial YearPension contributionsHigher Rate refund
2021-22£1,761 (4%)£440
2020-21£1,750 (4%)£438
2019-20£1,755 (4%)£439
2018-19£968 (2.4%)£242

It’s possible to claim thousands in tax relief if you have the right information and follow the right steps. Unfortunately, many people are unaware they can even make a claim. We are dedicated to helping people claim the money they are due.

We recommend following these 6 steps to claim tax relief:

Step 1

Check to see if you can claim

The best way to find out if you pay more than the basic rate of tax is to look at your P60 from your employer. It will show the total amount of tax deducted for the financial year.

Step 2

Check if your pension scheme qualifies for tax relief

In order to claim tax relief, the pension needs to meet the following criteria:

  • The pension is in your name
  • The pension is registered with HMRC
  • Your contributions are made after tax also known as ‘Relief at source’.
  • Contributions are made before you reached the age of 75

Step 3

Collate Gift Aided charity donations

Here are some places to look for donations you may have made in the past:

  • Check your Swiftaid statement
  • Search your email for confirmation on donations made to charity.
  • Check if you have any charity shop statements

Step 4

Collate everything and submit your claim to HMRC

There are a number of options when it comes to claiming tax relief:

  • Self-assessment Fill in the net amount in the relevant section of your tax return
  • Direct to HMRC (Phone or letter) Ask HMRC to adjust your tax code to account for your tax relief
  • Get an intermediary to claim on your behalf An intermediary can help collate the information needed and assist in submitting the claim to HMRC on your behalf.

Step 5

Keep records

Keep records of all the information declared to HMRC for at least 22 months from the end of the tax year you claimed for.

Step 6

Set a reminder for next year

We would suggest 1st June next year to do this again.

There are a number of different pension schemes which do not qualify for tax relief. A simple way to check if your pension is a ‘Relief at Source’ pension, is to see if your pension provider claims back the basic rate tax relief (of 20%) and adds that automatically to your pension pot.

Find out more and get an accurate estimate of how much you could claim by clicking here.

Please note: We do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only.

Profile image

Team Swiftaid
Aug 15, 2022


Subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated 💌

Whoops, you need to enter all your details correctly