Were you aware that British armed forces personnel are entitled to UK travel tax relief?
Many don’t, and as a result, miss out on hundreds if not thousands of pounds of the tax rebates they’re entitled to.
All members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force are subject to the same tax regulations as every other UK taxpayer, which means that service personnel can claim tax relief on journeys to any location that’s classed by HMRC as a ‘temporary workplace’.
There are a number of scenarios that qualify MoD employees to claim travel tax relief, so if you can tick any one of the boxes below, you’re eligible to make a claim:
- you’ve completed Phase One training
- you are posted for a maximum 24 months, in the UK or abroad
- you travel by public transport, including planes and ferries
- you drive your own private vehicle
- you are on a training course or exercise
It’s well worth noting that tax relief is in addition to any GYH (Get You Home) or HTD (Home To Duty) payments you receive as part of your regular salary, so you might be keen to know just how much you’re entitled to…
How much is a MoD travel tax rebate worth?
According to Tax Rebate Services, who are specialists in submitting claims on behalf of their service personnel clients, their average initial rebate is £2,500.
The Tax Office deals with claims on an individual basis and consider a number of factors, including your earnings, allowable business mileage, and the amount of tax you have paid.
Based on the unique calculations, it’s impossible to give an exact figure, but you can work out a more precise estimate for your own financial circumstances by using Tax Rebate Service’s free MoD tax rebate calculator.
Thought you weren’t allowed to claim tax rebates? Think again!
There’s been a lot of confusion amongst the the armed service community in recent times, and this is largely due to a misunderstanding around the MoD and HMRC having different applications of the word ‘temporary’.
As it turns out, HMRC’s ‘temporary workplace’ and the MoD’s ‘temporary posting’ are not the same thing.
Tax regulations govern all UK taxpayers, regardless of the industry they work in, so HMRC’s terminology takes priority. A ‘temporary workplace’ means a work location that lasts no longer than 24 months, and therefore, your 18 month ‘permanent posting’ is actually a ‘temporary workplace’ for tax purposes.
Thankfully, this was clarified in 2015 via the ‘DIN 2015DIN01-005’ notification, which confirms that MoD employees are allowed to claim for travel tax relief.
The good news is you can submit a claim yourself via HMRC, or use an agent like Tax Rebate Services and let them do all the hard work for you!
But I already get paid a HTD allowance
Whilst you already receive tax-free HTD payments at a rate of 21p per mile, HMRC actually allow for 45p per mile to any ‘temporary workplace’, for the first 10,000 miles (25p thereafter), so you’re entitled to an extra 24p for every mile you cover (or an extra 4p per mile after 10,000 miles).
To get your hands on this extra cash, you need to make an official tax relief claim in order to recoup the difference you are owed. Do remember though, that this is not instead of HTD, nor will it suddenly mean that the extra ‘income’ becomes taxable.
Of course, to reclaim any monies you are due, HMRC will need some evidence to support your tax relief claim. Acceptable evidence can be supplied in the form of of:
- Assignment Orders – that state where, when and for how long you were posted, confirming the all-important ‘temporary workplace’ part. You should note you only have 60 days to get copies of any lost ones before they are deleted from the system.
- Payslips – showing your income and tax paid
- P45s and P60s – to help you make claims from previous tax years. Defence Gateway or JPAC (0141 224 3600) are your reference points if you need replacement copies, and you can claim as far back as the last four tax years!
- Move and Track documents – helpful and ‘official’
- Receipts – for any travelling you have done by public transport
As highlighted above, tax relief submissions can be backdated for up to four tax years. So, if you’ve left the Army, Navy or RAF during this time period, there’s still time to make a MoD tax rebate claim.
Why consult a Tax Expert?
As serving or retired members of the military, you are all perfectly capable of reading the necessary information, downloading the requisite forms and completing the submission process on your own.
However, there are three main reasons why many armed forces personnel consider it wise to use a tax professional:
- Accuracy: HMRC levy substantial fines for inaccuracies on paperwork, even if it’s simply a genuine human error. There are also financial penalties for missing official deadlines. A tax expert will ensure that you are fully tax compliant, that you avoid any illegitimate claims, and that you receive your maximum tax relief amount.
- Time: How much do you value your time? Do you really want to spend your off-duty time on a government website reading about tax regulations? Tax professionals already speak ‘tax’ and know the shortcuts through the mire of tax rules, so you can trust agents like Tax Rebate Services find the ones that apply to you.
- Hassle: Let’s be honest, whilst it’s nice to receive a little financial surprise, it all sounds like a bit of a hassle. After all, tax is taxing, and this is why so many armed forces personnel forfeit their tax refund by not bothering to submit an application.
A tax agent knows what questions to ask and what evidence you’ll need, and will take over the whole process for you – even down to communicating with the Tax Office on your behalf. This is especially useful if you are overseas and trying to factor in time differences. Rules, forms and phone calls will all be dealt with for you.
We don’t think it’s fair that some MoD employees are missing out on the money they’re entitled to because of a time-consuming, daunting system, and were pleased to learn that Tax Rebate Services have a success-based fee structure, with no hidden costs.
And because they’re a fully qualified, AAT regulated tax professional, there’s no financial risk to worry about and nothing but a substantial tax rebate cheque to gain.
They guarantee your claim is fully optimised to ensure you get the maximum, legitimate tax relief you are owed, so why not give them a call on 0845 094 0005 or drop an email in to [email protected]online feedback form.