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Leaving the UK, whether for a new job, retirement, or just a change of scenery, comes with a checklist of tasks to complete before you say your final goodbyes. Among these tasks, understanding how to claim tax back is crucial. This guide aims to simplify the process, ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge to maximize your claim.

Understanding UK Tax Refunds for Leavers

When you leave the UK, you might be entitled to a tax refund. This is often the case if you’ve been working in the UK and are leaving partway through the tax year. The UK tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th the following year, and many people don’t realize they’ve overpaid tax until they prepare to leave.

Are You Eligible?

Eligibility for a tax refund depends on several factors:

  • If you’ve worked in the UK and paid Income Tax through PAYE (Pay As You Earn).
  • If you’re leaving the UK for at least one full tax year.
  • Your earnings and the tax you’ve paid in the year you’re leaving.
  • If you’ve used any allowances or reliefs that reduce your taxable income.
Am I eligible for a tax refund when leaving the UK? Chat now to find out!

Step-by-Step Guide to Claiming Your Tax Back

1. Determine Your Residency Status

First, understand your residency status for the tax year, as it affects your tax liability. If you’re leaving the UK, you’ll likely become a non-resident for tax purposes, which impacts your eligibility for certain tax benefits and how you claim your refund.

2. Gather Necessary Documentation

Before you can claim your tax back, gather all relevant documents, including:

  • P45 or P60 forms from your employer(s).
  • Details of any benefits or expenses.
  • Passport or national ID card.
  • Proof of your new address outside the UK.

3. Complete the P85 Form

The P85 form is your ticket to claiming tax back when leaving the UK. It helps HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) determine if you’re owed a tax refund. You can fill out the P85 form online through the Government Gateway or download it from the HMRC website.

4. Claiming Working and Child Tax Credits

If you’re claiming working and child tax credits, notify HMRC of your departure. Your entitlement to these credits will cease once you leave the UK, but understanding how this affects your final tax calculation is crucial.

5. Check if a Change Affects Your Tax Credits

Any change in your circumstances, such as leaving the UK, can affect your tax credits. It’s important to report these changes to HMRC promptly to ensure your tax credits are accurately calculated up to your departure date.

How does my residency status affect my tax refund eligibility?
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Common Questions Answered

When Will I Receive My Refund?

The processing time for tax refunds varies, but you can typically expect to receive your refund within 8-12 weeks after submitting your P85 form. Ensure all information is accurate to avoid delays.

Can I Claim a Refund for Previous Years?

Yes, you can claim a tax refund for up to four previous tax years if you believe you’ve overpaid tax during your time in the UK.

What if I Return to the UK?

If you return to the UK within the same tax year, your tax refund may be adjusted or reclaimed by HMRC. Always keep HMRC informed of your movements to avoid complications.

How do I claim a tax refund for previous years?

How Contend Can Help

At Contend, we understand that navigating tax refunds when leaving the UK can be complex. Our AI legal assistant is designed to simplify this process, offering personalized guidance based on your unique situation. Chat with our AI legal expert today to get clear, trustworthy advice on claiming your tax back, ensuring you leave the UK with one less worry.

How much tax refund am I eligible for when leaving the UK?


Claiming tax back when leaving the UK doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding your eligibility, gathering the necessary documentation, and following the steps outlined above, you can ensure you’re not leaving any money on the table. Remember, Contend is here to assist you every step of the way, offering the easiest legal help in the UK to navigate your departure smoothly.

Ready to claim your tax back with ease? Chat now with Contend’s legal expert and embark on your next adventure with confidence.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.