Free money! The five hidden refunds worth millions
From reclaiming overpaid energy to tax rebates and marriage tax allowances, Martin Lewis says we are due hundreds of millions of pounds that we’re just not claiming - most of which can be done with a quick click or phone call.
Refund, refund, refund, (refund, refund). No I’m not stuck on repeat, I’m trying to hammer home that people are owed hundreds of millions of pounds that they’re just not claiming – most of which can be done with just a quick click or phone call. Here’s what you need to do…
1. Over 1million are owed a refund on Power of Attorney registration fees A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you, while you still have the mental capacity to do so, to nominate a trusted friend or relative to look after your affairs if you lose capacity. And they’re not just for the elderly, I have one, I’m 45.
Yet if you already got one, and did it between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 in England and Wales, you paid £110 for them, which is more than it should’ve been, so if you did that you’re owed up to £54 per power of attorney (which includes 0.5% annual interest).
To claim a refund go to www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund or call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300 and select option six. You’ll need details (incuding bank details) of the person who it was set up for and the name of one of the attorneys.
I’m swamped with people telling me how easy it is, like Barbara who tweeted me: “@MartinSLewisThanks to you, I have £75.42 back. How else would I have known about this?”
2. Are you married? If so, you may be due a free £900Three years ago, the Government launched the marriage (and civil partnerships) tax allowance. It applies where one is a basic-rate taxpayer and the other a non-taxpayer.
The non-taxpayer can apply to have 10% (£1,190) of their tax-free allowance shifted to the taxpayer. This means £1,190 of income they were taxed on at 20% is now tax-free – a £238 gain this year done via altering your tax code.
Yet still over 1 million eligible couples are missing out. And you can back claim a refund to when it started too, so that’s a cheque for £662 – making a total of £900. It takes five minutes to do at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance/how-to-apply – it’s the non-taxpayer who must apply.
Graduated uni? You may be due £100s back
In the last three years alone, over 100,000 university leavers started to repay their loans too early, and are due some of it back. Plus as this could go all the way back to 1998 it’s likely there are 100,000s more.
You are only eligible to start repaying your student loan in the April after graduation – often around nine months after leaving, and even then only if you earn over a set threshold.
However if your employer has the wrong info about your uni leaving date, or simply does it wrong you may start repaying early. To check and get it back is easy. Just call the Student Loan Company on 0300 100 0611 and ask it, its best if you have your details handy, but if not they should be able to find them.
It takes five minutes and I’ve had tons of successes like Tom who tweeted: “Thank you @MartinSLewis5 minute phone call to Student Loans Company and got £315 back from paying too early in 2009”.
And that’s only one category of student loan overpayment, there are other reasons to, to check see my full www.mse.me/studentloanoverpayments guide.
4. Reclaim overpaid energy With winter long gone (at least via the calendar), this is the perfect time for those who pay energy by monthly direct debit, which is the vast majority, to check if you’ve got too much credit. This is because energy firms estimate your usage, and then bill you based on their estimates. If those are set too high you can end up overpaying.
Only do this if you’ve been providing regular meter readings, or have a smart meter doing it for you. If not, send them a meter reading. Assuming all is up to date go online or call up to check whether you are in credit and if so how much.
Direct debits are meant to smooth out your usage over the year so normally you’re in surplus going into winter and in deficit after. So right now if your credit is more than a month’s worth of bills, ask them for the amount over that back – it can be £100s, and ask them to lower the direct debit going forward.
If you’ve switched providers you should’ve been credited with any excess then, yet they didn’t used to, so check now even if it was years ago, as Aston emailed: “Eight minutes work calling my old energy suppliers, got £140 refunded after leaving in credit. Why don't more people do this?”
5. Get a tax rebate if you wear a uniformIf youwear a recognisable uniform to work, even if it’s just a branded t-shirt, and you wash it yourself, you may be able to reclaim hundreds of pounds of tax back, like Jackie who tweeted:“@MartinSLewiswe got a £250 cheque today after writing to the HMRC about a uniform tax rebate for my husband! Thank you!”
The amount you get varies from £12 to £74 a year depending on your tax rate and the industry you work in, plus you can go back four years, so this can be £100s for some.
And you don’t need to pay anyone to do this, just fill out the P87 claim form at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-income-tax-relief-for-your-employment-expenses-p87.Once you've registered, your tax code will change, so you'll be taxed less in the future.