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Think you’ve paid too much tax? You could be entitled to a self-employed tax refund just like regular employees – but the process for claiming the money back can be different if you run your own business.

If you’ve made a mistake on your tax return, or if you think you’ve overpaid, read our guide on how to claim a self-employed tax refund.

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What is an HMRC tax refund?

If you’ve paid too much tax, you could be eligible for a refund from HMRC. This is known as a tax rebate.

The average tax rebate in the UK is around £3,000 and approximately £300 million in tax refunds is unclaimed each year.

Getting a self-employed tax refund can be more difficult for people who aren’t paid through PAYE.

The self-employed need to tell HMRC how much they think they’re due and provide information that proves they’ve overpaid their tax bill.

Tax refund vs tax rebate: what’s the difference?

A tax refund and a tax rebate are the same thing – HMRC uses the terms interchangeably.

In some cases, HMRC will work out that you’re owed a tax refund and send you a P800 tax form to let you know.

However, it can be difficult for HMRC to know you’ve overpaid, particularly if your claim is due to expenses. That’s why it’s so important to keep good records and contact HMRC immediately if you think you’ve paid too much tax.

Are self-employed people eligible for tax refunds? How to get a tax refund.

Self-employed people can claim tax refunds if they’ve paid too much tax. For example, if you make a mistake on your tax return, you may be entitled to some money back.

However, HMRC deals with tax refunds for Self Assessment taxpayers differently.

How to get a tax refund as a self-employed person

Self Assessment taxpayers claim tax refunds through the Self Assessment process. This means that any overpayments will be dealt with once HMRC has received your next tax return.

When completing your return, you should be told that you’ve overpaid. You can then choose how you'd like the money to be paid back to you – for example, by bank transfer. Alternatively, you can put it towards your next tax bill.

Self Assessment mistakes: how to claim a tax refund for the self employed.

It’s not uncommon for self-employed people to make mistakes on their Self Assessment tax return, which results in them paying too much tax.

If this applies to you, the first step is to correct the relevant tax return. You can do this through the government’s Self Assessment portal – the same place that you completed your return in the first place.

To make a correction to your tax return:

  1. Log into your HMRC account
  2. Navigate to your Self Assessment account
  3. Click on 'More Self Assessment details'
  4. Click 'At a glance'
  5. Select 'Tax return options'
  6. Choose the tax year you want to amend
  7. Make the amendment directly in the tax return form

Remember – you may have to provide supporting evidence if you want to correct a tax return. As always, it’s important that you keep full and accurate records of your business finances.

Am I due a tax rebate?

If you make a mistake on your Self Assessment, you could end up overpaying your tax bill.

For example if you accidentally input an expense as £100 instead of £1,000, your overall allowable expenses will be lower.

As a result you’ll pay tax on more of your taxable profit, which means you’ll have paid more than you owe.

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How to claim a tax refund

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You can also use the government website to claim a self-employed tax refund. Sign in to your Self Assessment or personal tax account to check if you’re due a refund.

  • if you have a Self Assessment account, you’ll need to select ‘Request a Repayment’
  • if you have a personal tax account, you’ll need to select ‘Claim a tax refund’

You won’t need to claim again if you’ve already applied for a refund in your tax return.

Is there a time limit for correcting a Self Assessment tax return?

Normally, tax returns can only be corrected up to 12 months after the Self Assessment deadline for the relevant tax year. So, if you made a mistake on your 2022-23 tax return, you would normally only be able to amend it up to 31 January 2025.

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