Martin Lewis: Five refunds worth £1,000+ that millions are missing out on
Refund, refund, refund, (refund, refund). No I’m not stuck on repeat, I’m trying to hammer home that people are owed hundreds of millions of pounds that they’re just not claiming – most of which can be done with a quick click or phone call. Here’s what you need to do…
1. Over one million are owed a refund on Power of Attorney registration fees
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you, while you still have the mental capacity to do so, to nominate a trusted friend or relative to look after your affairs if you lose capacity. And they’re not just for the elderly – I have one, and I’m 45. For more on how to do it cheaply, go to Power of Attorney Help.
If you already have one, and did it between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 in England or Wales, you would have paid £110 for it, which is more than it should’ve been. So if you did that, you’re owed up to £54 per Power of Attorney (which includes 0.5% interest).
To claim a refund go to the Office of the Public Guardian’s website or call it on 0300 456 0300 and select option six. You’ll need details (including bank details of the person who it was set up for) and the name of one of the attorneys.
I’m swamped with people telling me how easy it is, like Barbara who tweeted: “@MartinSLewis Thanks to you, I have £75.42 back. How else would I have known about this?”
2. Are you married? If so, you may be due a free £900
Three years ago, the Government launched the marriage (and civil partnerships) tax allowance. It applies where one in the relationship is a basic-rate taxpayer and the other a non-taxpayer.
The non-taxpayer can apply to have 10% (£1,190) of their annual tax-free allowance shifted to the taxpayer. This means £1,190 of income they were taxed on at 20% is now tax-free – a £238 gain this year, done via altering their tax code.
Yet still over one million eligible couples are missing out. And you can back-claim a refund to when it started too, so that’s a cheque for £662 – making a total of £900. It takes five minutes to do on the Gov.uk website – the non-taxpayer must apply. If you’ve more questions see the full Marriage Tax Allowance Help guide.
Michelle tweeted: “@MartinSLewis Just applied for the marriage tax allowance and it took 2 mins to get over £600. #thankyou.”
3. Reclaim overpaid energy
With winter long gone, this is the perfect time for those who pay for their energy by monthly direct debit – which is the vast majority – to check if they’ve too much credit. This is because energy firms estimate your usage, and then bill you based on their estimates. If those are set too high you can end up overpaying.
Only do this if you’ve been providing regular meter readings, or have a smart meter doing it for you. If not, send your supplier a meter reading. Assuming all is up to date, go online or call to check whether you’re in credit and, if so, by how much.
Direct debits are meant to smooth out your usage over the year so normally you’re in surplus going into winter and in deficit after. So right now if your credit is more than a month’s worth of bills, ask your provider for the amount over that back – it can be £100s. And ask it to lower the direct debit for the future.
If you’ve switched providers you should’ve been credited with any excess then, yet they didn’t use to, so check now even if it was years ago, as Aston emailed: “Eight minutes’ work calling my old energy suppliers, got £140 refunded after leaving in credit. Why don't more people do this?”
For step-by-step help on this see my Reclaim Overpaid Energy Credit blog.
4. Graduated from uni? You may be due £100s back
In the last three years alone, over 100,000 university leavers started to repay their loans too early, and are due some back. Plus, as this could go all the way back to 1998, it’s likely there are 100,000s more.
You are only eligible to start repaying your student loan in the April after graduation – often about nine months after leaving, and even then only if you earn over a set threshold.
However, if your employer has the wrong info about your uni leaving date, or simply does it wrong, you may start repaying early. To check and get it back is easy. Just call the Student Loans Company on 0300 100 0611 and ask it.
It takes five minutes and I’ve had tons of successes, such as Tom’s. He tweeted: “Thank you @MartinSLewis, 5 minute phone call to Student Loans Company and got £315 back from paying too early in 2009.”
And that’s only one category of student loan overpayment – there are other reasons you may have. To check see the full Student Loan Overpayments guide.
5. Get a tax rebate if you wear a uniform
If you wear a recognisable uniform to work, even if it’s just a branded T-shirt, and you wash it yourself, you may be able to reclaim hundreds of pounds of tax back, like Jackie who tweeted: “@MartinSLewis We got a £250 cheque today after writing to HM Revenue & Customs about a uniform tax rebate for my husband! Thank you!”
The amount you get varies from £12 to £74 a year depending on your tax rate and the industry you work in, plus you can go back four years in total, so this can be £100s for some.
And you don’t need to pay anyone to do this, just fill out the P87 claim form at Gov.uk. Once you’ve registered, your tax code will change, so you’ll be taxed less in future. There’s full step-by-step help in Uniform Tax Refunds.