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Understanding R38 Form: Claiming an Income Tax Refund in the UK

Updated: May 30, 2023

Introduction to Tax Refunds in the UK

A tax refund might be a concept that’s familiar to many individuals. It’s a process that involves the government returning excess income tax that you’ve paid during the fiscal year. In the United Kingdom, this process is governed by the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They provide a form known as the R38 form, which is used to claim your income tax refund.

Understanding R38 Form: Claiming an Income Tax Refund in the UK

Understanding the R38 Form

The R38 form is a crucial document used when requesting a tax refund from HMRC. This form is used to provide necessary information about your income and taxes paid, enabling HMRC to calculate whether you've overpaid your taxes and are therefore eligible for a refund.

The form includes sections to fill out personal details such as your name, address, and National Insurance number. There are also sections dedicated to providing information about your income and tax details. By meticulously filling out this form, you can ensure that HMRC has all the necessary data to accurately calculate your potential refund.

The form you need is R38 if you have paid "too much tax" and want to get this "too much" back. If necessary, you can also designate someone else on the form R38 to receive this payment for you. If you overpay, you can ask HMRC to send the refund to a third party using the R38 mailing form or request it online. This is usually the case when clients request a tax refund from their accountant or sales representative.

You must complete a separate form for each financial year for which you are requesting a refund.

Why Do I Need To Submit the R38 Form?

HMRC implements a settlement process to verify that each taxpayer has paid the correct amount of tax. Most people have paid the correct amount in taxes and rarely need to contact HMRC. If you have paid too much tax and believe you are eligible for a refund, you can submit Form R38 to ask HMRC to investigate.

Completing and Submitting the R38 Form

Filling out the R38 form requires some diligence, as accuracy is crucial. You need to provide personal details, including your National Insurance number, and details about the tax year you're claiming for. You also need to provide information on your income, the tax paid on that income, and the reasons you believe you've overpaid. You can get R38 in PDF or you can fill it out online and get a printout, or you can claim your refund online.

It's crucial to gather all relevant documentation, such as P60 or P45 forms before you start, as they'll help you ensure your claim's accuracy. The HMRC website provides comprehensive instructions to help you fill out the form correctly.

The R38 form is used in the UK to claim a tax refund. Here's a guide on how to complete it based on the content extracted from the provided link:

  1. Address and Reference Numbers: If your address is not shown, you need to complete the box provided. You also need to fill in your Self Assessment (SA) reference number, Employer PAYE reference (if applicable), and your National Insurance number.

  2. Details of Claimant: This includes your surname, first name(s), and address. If you're claiming a non-Self Assessment claim, you need to specify the period the claim relates to.

  3. Claim: You need to sign and date the form to claim the repayment of the amount overpaid by you.

  4. Authority: If you're authorizing someone else (a nominee or an agent) to receive the amount due on your behalf, you need to provide their full name and address. If applicable, also provide the agent's reference.

  5. Bank Details: If you or your nominee has a bank account, provide the name of the account holder, bank or building society account number, branch sort code, and the address of the bank or building society where the account is held. If you or your nominee does not have a bank account, HMRC can arrange repayment in the form of a payable order, but you or your nominee will need to open a bank or building society account in order to cash it.

  6. Signature: Finally, you need to sign and date the form to confirm that the information you've provided is accurate to the best of your knowledge.

Once you've completed the form, you can either send it by post to the address on the form or, in some cases, submit it online through the HMRC self-assessment portal. The latter is quicker and allows for easy tracking of your claim's progress.

When Can I Submit the R38 form?

If you have worked and paid UK income tax and know that you have paid too much, you will need to fill in R38 to get your money back. There are many tax breaks for UK taxpayers' wage bills: union membership, union membership fees, tools, and equipment, buying and washing uniforms, and working from home, to name a few.

After Filing the R38 Form

Once your R38 form is submitted, it's up to HMRC to review your claim. Depending on their current workload and the complexity of your claim, this could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. During this period, it's essential to keep your supporting documents safe, as HMRC might ask for further evidence.

If your claim is successful, HMRC will notify you and issue a tax refund, typically paid directly into your bank account or through a cheque. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal, although you should consider seeking professional advice before doing so.

Tips for a Smooth R38 Process

Completing an R38 form and claiming a tax refund can be a straightforward process if you follow some simple steps:

  • Understand why you've overpaid: Before filling out your R38 form, make sure you understand why you've overpaid. This understanding will help you complete the form accurately and provide the necessary evidence to support your claim.

  • Gather all relevant documents: Having all your relevant tax documents to hand before you start will make the process smoother. These may include your P60, P45, and any other proof of tax paid.

  • Be patient and keep track: After submitting your R38, it may take some time to hear back from HMRC. Stay patient and keep track of your claim's progress, if submitted online.

What Happens If I Pay More Or Less Tax?

You can claim a tax refund from HMRC if you pay too much tax. The underpaid tax can be collected through the tax law for the following year or if you wish to do so as a self-employed person.

How Can We Help You With Your R38 Form?

Handling a claim with R38 is often a complex and time-consuming process. But here at Pro Tax Accountant, we are experts in collecting overpaid taxes and can make sure you get all the taxes owed in the past four tax years.

Getting Professional Help from for Claiming an Income Tax Refund

Why is it a Good Idea to Get Professional Help from a Tax Accountant for Claiming an Income Tax Refund

Managing personal finances can often be a complex task, particularly when it comes to the intricacies of tax laws and regulations. This is especially true in the UK, where the tax system can be quite complicated. The process of claiming an income tax refund can be overwhelming for many, and that's where professional tax accountants, such as those from Pro Tax Accountant, can provide invaluable assistance.

In-Depth Knowledge of Tax Laws

One of the most compelling reasons to seek professional help for claiming an income tax refund is the in-depth knowledge tax accountants possess. Tax laws in the UK are not only complex but are frequently subject to changes and updates. Keeping up with these changes requires a significant amount of time and expertise. Pro Tax Accountant professionals have dedicated their careers to understanding these laws and staying current on any changes, ensuring you get the maximum possible refund.

Time Saving

Dealing with tax paperwork can be time-consuming. You need to ensure that you've included all relevant information and calculated everything correctly. The time you spend dealing with these tasks could be better spent on your own professional or personal pursuits. By hiring a tax accountant, you're freeing up your time while ensuring that a professional handles your tax return.

Minimizing Errors

Making a mistake on your tax return can result in a smaller refund or even an audit by the tax authorities. A professional tax accountant from Pro Tax Accountant can significantly minimize these risks. They are trained to spot common mistakes and have a keen eye for details that most people might overlook.

Assistance in Complex Situations

For individuals with relatively simple financial situations, the process of claiming a refund might be straightforward. However, for those with more complex situations, such as owning a business, having multiple sources of income, or investing in property or stocks, tax issues can become significantly more complicated. In these situations, the guidance and expertise of a professional tax accountant become even more valuable.

Future Financial Planning

A tax accountant doesn't just help with your current tax return; they can also provide advice and guidance for future financial planning. They can offer strategies for tax savings, investment planning, and overall wealth management. This expertise allows you to plan your finances effectively and maximize your wealth in the long run.


While it might seem cost-effective to handle your own taxes, the advantages of employing a professional tax accountant, like Pro Tax Accountant, are numerous. From saving time and minimizing errors to assisting in complex situations and providing advice for future financial planning, their expertise can be incredibly beneficial. By taking the complexity out of the tax refund process, you can ensure you receive the maximum refund you're entitled to, reducing stress and making your financial life simpler.



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