How to get Armed Forces Tax Refunds? – Everything you need to know

Armed Forces Tax Refunds

If you are currently serving or former Ministry Of Defence personnel you can claim an Armed Forces Tax Refund. This includes claiming on your travel expenses if you have used your own vehicle or public transport and have had temporary postings of under 24 months in the UK as well as overseas. Your Armed Forces Tax Refund can also claim for other expenses and over the last four years this could be a sizable amount of over £3,000. If this applies to you then apply for your tax refund with Taxback.   

What Paperwork Do I Need To Provide?

At Taxback, we make even the most complicated Armed Forces Tax Refunds straightforward. Once you provide us with your paperwork our team will look after the hard work to get back what HMRC owes you.

Your Monthly Payslips from the MOD

If you are struggling to retrieve every single payslip then you can download copies from the Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC).

Include a List of the Bases You Have Attended

This should also include copies of assignment orders which can be retrieved from JPAC, though they are deleted after 60 days. Proof of the courses you have attended should also be included in your claim.

Supporting Documents 

Mess Dress receipts, MOT certificates, P60s and P45s are all handy to show HMRC what you have paid for simply to do your job, which can all be evidenced in your claim.

Other Information about your financial situation

We will also ask a few questions about your own financial situation including any additional income and outgoings such as a private pension or student loan you are paying off. The MOD’s specific rules on accommodation can affect your refund so we’ll discuss your living arrangements too.

Finally, ensure you set up a Personal Tax Account so you can view all your important tax and employer information easily, it’s also free. 

Why Are Payslips Required?

Your payslips will demonstrate if you have already received any travel-related expenses. You can only claim a tax refund on costs you have paid yourself so any expenses you have already received will lower the amount you are owed. Of course, HMRC will want a thorough breakdown before confirming your tax refund. However, if you have received no expenses at all towards your travel this will be shown by your payslips. If all your payslips are not at hand you can download them from the JPAC website and Taxback can retrieve your P60s straight from HMRC to be used in your claim.

Should I Keep My Assignment Orders?

Your Assignment Orders will be further paperwork that will be used as important evidence in your tax refund claim so keep a copy of each order from every base you travel to. Even if you miss out on some you can retrieve copies from JPAC within 60 days. 

Which Expenses Are Included? 

Be aware that your tax refund can go beyond travel costs, it can also include;

Food Costs
Mess Dress 
Travel to essential training courses

Use our Tax Refund Calculator to estimate how much you could claim.

What Is Included On A Tax Rebate On Meals?

Your meals can amount to £250 on a yearly Armed Forces Tax Refund. Try to keep all your receipts and if you cannot take a photo of the menu board so you have a good idea of what you paid on a certain day. 

Personnel on the Hungry Soldier scheme pay for their food directly out of their salary in arrears so provide your payslips. If you are in any doubt over what you qualify for then talk to Taxback to find out.

How Long Does A Claim Take To Process? 

An Armed Forces Tax Refund usually takes about 8-10 weeks to be processed by HMRC. The sooner you get in touch and send in your paperwork, the quicker you can get your claim. 

Your Tax Refund Is Your Legal Right

Remember, you are entitled to your Armed Forces Tax Refund from HMRC as this is money you should get back as a repayment of tax you should not have paid. The Ministry of Defence has officially confirmed that serving and former personnel can claim tax refunds on their travel expenses on postings of under 24 months, which is good to know.

Will My Tax Code Change? 

Pay attention to your tax code during your Armed Forces Tax Refund claim. HMRC uses the code to work out how much you can earn before paying tax and also lists your special circumstances. During your claim HMRC can change your tax code to accommodate those costs you are claiming which can cause issues in the future. If your tax code does change this is due to HMRC assuming that your expenses will be consistent on an annual basis. This is not always the case, especially if you include overseas travel, and being on the wrong tax code means being charged the wrong amount of tax.

If you receive a P2 Coding Notice which does not make sense, contact us at Taxback. We can look after your tax refund and we will look out for any changes to your tax code too. 

Travel Refund Information For Armed Forces

When you pay for essential travel yourself, you are entitled to an Armed Forces Tax Refund from HMRC. This applies to serving and former MOD personnel for travel to temporary postings in the last four tax years.

There is also the issue of Forces Mileage Claims and you could still be owed even if you are already claiming a travel refund at the Motor Mileage Allowance (MMA) rate, let us explain. The MMA rate is 20p per mile travelled, however, HMRC state that for essential work travel to temporary postings you should be getting 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles travelled in a tax year then 25p per mile after that. According to HMRC’s own travel refund rules, you should be claiming on the difference between the AMAP and MMA rates.

What Information Is Required To Claim On Travel Refunds?

As ever with a tax refund, the more information and evidence you can provide to HMRC the better, especially with multi-leg journeys and overseas postings. This includes information about each stage of your journeys to and from your base as it will all add up. The drive to an airport, the flight and any public transport is all useful information to include, especially when you can calculate the mileage and distance covered. 

Do remember that the cost of international travel can vary so any receipts provided will show what you paid on each specific journey. Evidence such as receipts is also crucial in case HMRC ask you to prove your own expenses, if you cannot then you may get into trouble. With Taxback you can provide as much information as you can to be used in your claim so HMRC are in little doubt as to what you are owed. 

What Should Be My Record Keeping For My Fuel Tax Rebate?

Use a logbook so you can note down your mileage for travel to and from temporary postings of under 24 months. You should also detail the full addresses involved in your journeys so mileage can be calculated using the distance covered between destinations. HMRC appreciates detailed records and this will be rewarded in your tax refund claim.

If I’m Posted Overseas Can I Claim A UK Tax Refund?

Yes, you are entitled to a UK tax refund if you travel for work to and from temporary workplaces. Your claim should be sizeable if you pay for your travel overseas from your UK residence. However, if you and your family have moved outside the UK you cannot claim for your travel costs.

Contact Taxback if you want to know about a UK Tax Refund.

What Do I Need To Do If I Am Due To Be Deployed?

If you have a family to look after at home ensure your salary is paid into a joint account or arrange temporary access for family members through a third-party mandate form. Speak to your bank before you leave to work out which option works for you and your family.

You should also consider an overdraft on your account if you cannot pay attention to your bank account while you are deployed. Setting up Direct Debits for your bills is a good idea to keep them taken care of. Again, consider speaking to your family and your bank for any financial decisions. 

There are certain financial arrangements you can make that could prove useful should you be deployed for a prolonged period of time. These include setting up a will or power of attorney and ensuring your Personal Accident and Service Life insurance is sorted before you leave. If you have a car confirm it is taxed and insured in your absence or you may receive a Statutory Off Road Notice.

What Is A MOD Commitment Bonus?

The Commitment Bonus is for years served as a non-commissioned regular and will depend on the date you joined up. The scheme is due to end from 1st April 2021 so keep that date in mind as you can take your bonus in stages or as a lump sum later on and the longer you wait, the more you should get. 

The bonus may not necessarily affect your Armed Forces Tax Refund though it should be detailed in your claim as it will count as taxable income according to HMRC. This is because the bonus could put you in a higher tax bracket for the year depending on your basic salary which would affect how much tax you can claim back. This will be another detail to be considered in your claim which Taxback can look at to get the best claim you are entitled to. 

Can Reservists Or Territorial Army Personnel Make A Claim?

As Reservists and Territorial Army Personnel spend most of their service in the same place there are few travel expenses to claim on. Also, HMRC rules state that you need to be travelling to temporary workplaces to qualify for a claim. Again, this is another detail to consider in your claim which Taxback can look at. 

Find out if you need to complete a UK Self Assessment Tax Return and find out more about a UK Tax Return.

Contact Us To Claim A MOD Tax Refund

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