Use our FAQ´s to find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions
Click on any of the questions to see the answer alternatively you can download all of these FAQs as a PDF document by clicking here .
1. Why do I need to check my tax code?
Your tax code tells your employer how much tax to take off your wages. If your employer uses the wrong code, they’ll take the wrong amount of tax…….and you’ve guessed it, it’s nearly always too much! The Revenue sends out a new tax code at least once each year, but sometimes several times a year. Your employer has to use the tax code they’re sent, and they’ve no idea if it’s right or not. Ultimately it’s your job to check your employer’s got the right code and taken the right amount of tax. It’s a common mistake to believe that because “I’m on PAYE ”, your employer sorts your tax and takes the right amount. Nearly half of the tax code reviews we do end up with our customers getting a tax refund, so it’s clear every taxpayer should check their tax code.
2. How often do I need to check my tax code?
If you want to be safe, you should check it every year. You get a new tax code every year so you should always check it’s correct. You also need to do this in case your employer isn’t taking enough tax, otherwise you’ll end up owing The Revenue money and that could cause you financial difficulties in the future.
3. Why might I be due a tax refund?
There’s a couple of reasons. The first is The Revenue could have made a mistake with your tax code in the last 4 years.
The other is you might not know there are tax allowances, (or were tax allowances as some of them have gone now) you were entitled to ask for so you paid less tax. If you didn’t know about these allowances, there’s no way you could ask The Revenue to put them in your tax code, so they give you the wrong code. That meant you paid more tax than you needed to.
The good news is it’s not too late to ask The Revenue to do this because they’ll let you go back up to 4 years to claim any allowances you missed out on, or to correct any mistakes they or your employer made.
The problem you’ve got is unless you know what to look for, you won’t spot any mistakes and unless you know what allowances you were entitled to, you can’t ask The Revenue to let you have them! That means any money you overpaid is going to stay in The Revenue’s bank account, instead of yours! The Revenue also gives you a deadline to claim your money back. If you miss it, they’ll keep your money!
4. Doesn’t my employer check my tax code?
We're asked this nearly every day! Your employer has to use the tax code they're given by The Revenue. That's the Law. If the code's wrong, your employer can't do anything about it. It's up to you to check the code and make sure The Revenue has given them the right one. If it's wrong, it's your responsibility to get it corrected as soon as possible.
5. How much do you charge?
We don’t charge a penny for our in-depth tax code review. We’ll do the whole thing for FREE (unless you’ve already used our service in the last 4 years in which case have a look at Questions 31 and 32)
If we manage to get you a refund as well, we ask you to let us keep 39p from each £1 we get you. We don’t ask you for a minimum fee either. If you get £5, you’ll be giving us just £1.95. We don’t use hidden charges, or cheque handling fees or administration fees or anything like that, because they’re all the same as a minimum fee.
Just because there’s no minimum fee, doesn’t mean we only go after the bigger refunds either. If you’re owed a refund, no matter how small, we’ll get it back for you. Our smallest refund in 2012 was just £1.60, although our biggest was £7,343. We know it’s hard to believe, but we'll help you get a refund even if we lose money! Thats part of the deal between us and the employers, trade unions and professional bodies we work with - we have to give every customer exactly the same service, even where we don't earn anything.
6. Isn’t your fee expensive?
If you’re thinking this, it’s probably worth looking at what options you’ve got, apart from using us.
The first option is you contact The Revenue yourself. Take a look at Question 16 to see what this involves.
The second option is to use a high street accountant. They’ll charge you £100 - £150 per hour and you’ll have to pay this even if you don’t get a refund. If your case gets complicated, or The Revenue asks lots of questions, or loses your file and asks your accountant to resend it (which they’ve been known to do over and over again), you’ll end up paying your accountant loads of money! There’s no way of knowing how much it’s going to cost you until you’ve reached the end of the process, and by then it’s too late! It could easily turn out to be very expensive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a refund!
The third option is you do nothing. In 2012, 40.83% of the reviews our team finished ended up with a refund, so if you look at that another way, by doing nothing there's a 41% chance you’ll lose all the money The Revenue owes you. That’s the same as paying 100% of your refund to The Revenue. Now that’s really expensive!
The fourth option is to use another company. If you want to do this, here’s a couple of useful tips…
Tip 1 – Check there’s no minimum fee, cheque handling fee, admin
fee, or fees for getting copies of documents. These are all ways of charging you a minimum fee. A minimum fee can easily end up being much more than 39% of your refund. In some cases, it’ll be more than the refund, so you get nothing back! You may have to read the “small print” very carefully to find these charges. By charging a minimum fee, other companies can charge a lower percentage because they know you’ll be paying them a minimum amount, even if you only get a small refund. A £50 minimum fee from £90 refund is the same as paying a 55% fee.
Tip 2 - Check they’re not cherry picking or specifically looking for the big refund cases. If they quote average refunds of over £400, they are. Unless you’re likely to be due a large refund, these firms often find a way not to deal with your case, simply because it’s not worth their while for a lower percentage. They probably won’t say, “you’re not due anything”, but they’ll try and give you that impression. If you’re due a refund and they don’t get it back for you, the chances are you’ll lose it entirely. That’s exactly the same as paying a fee of 100%!
Tip 3 – Check they’re not getting you to send your own claim direct to The Revenue, but making it look as if they’re doing it for you! Of course they won’t tell you they’re doing this because they want you to think they’re actually doing some work for you to justify their fee. It’s a very easy trick to miss if you don’t know what to look for, especially as it will be very well disguised. It has all the same risks we talk about in Question 16. with the added risk you’ll pay a fee as well. Apart from the fact you’ll pay them over 20% of your refund, plus a cheque handling fee for doing nothing but letting you download a pack of forms to fill out with some instructions on how to do it, you could end up facing serious problems with The Revenue, which you will have to sort out on your own, or pay an accountant to sort out!
Tip 4 – If their website says that they’re members of an “Association”, or “Scheme” designed to protect you, do some proper background checks into the Association or Scheme. It’s probably not what it appears to be! Also, check the members of that Association or Scheme to see if they’re actually linked to each other, owned by the same people, or even exist!
Tip 5 – Check their “small print” doesn’t say that if The Revenue says you have underpaid tax as a result of them submitting a claim, the company does not accept liability or that it is up to you to sort it yourself. It may not be worded as simply as this, but if you spot wording along these lines, it’s a good indication they’re just making claims for allowances they think you’ve missed out on. If they’re not doing a full review of your tax codes for the last 4 years, they could easily be submitting a claim when you actually owe more tax and they wouldn’t know, which is why their small print is designed to protect them and make it your problem to sort out if they get you into a mess. It could be a very costly problem!
There’s a number of very good reasons why we’re the only “Approved Provider” for nearly every Trade Union in Britain, as well as professional bodies such as The Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists, Society of Radiographers, Association of Optometrists, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives, as well as Local Authorities, Police Federations and major employers including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, JD Wetherspoons, Lookers, H&M and Peacocks. Ultimately, you’ll get what you pay for.
7. How long does it take?
To carry out a proper in-depth review, it’s probably going to take at least 6 - 12 weeks if you reply quickly to the letters or emails we send you. We’ll also tell you if we put in a refund claim to The Revenue. They normally take 6 - 8 weeks to deal with simple claims, but up to 30 weeks or more for complex claims. We’ll be checking the progress of your claim and every 6 weeks, we’ll send a reminder to The Revenue. Remember, we only get paid when you get your refund, so we’ll try and get your money back as soon as possible.
You’ll get a letter from The Revenue telling you how much you’re getting. They’ll also tell you they’re sending the refund to “your agent”. It will show your agent as PTS Ltd or Personal Taxation services Ltd which is us.
10. If I get a refund, what happens to my cheque?
If they follow your instructions, The Revenue will send us a cheque. We'll take our fee and send the rest of the money to you. You should get your cheque within 28 days of the date shown on the letter you’ve got from The Revenue.
28 days is just a guide because local or national postal strikes or changes in the way The Revenue send out assessments and refunds, might slow things up. It also takes up to 28 days because we often don’t get the cheque for 7-10 days after they send you a letter, even though your letter may say they’ve sent it.
Once we’ve get your refund, we’ll check it’s correct and hold on to it for 7 days to make sure The Revenue doesn’t ask for some of it back! We do get cheques for more than the amount due and The Revenue will always want it back, so the last thing we want to do is to send you a refund and then have The Revenue ask you for some of it back!
11. Do you know how much I am going to get?
We’ve got a good idea but The Revenue does the final calculation and then we check it before we send you the cheque.