HOUSEHOLDS hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic could be owed hundreds of pounds in refunds.
From working from home to getting a refund on your rail fare, we take you through how to get your cash back.
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Plus, we've added some extra tips on where you can look to find out if you've been overpaying – and how to ask for the money back.
1. Get a refund for unused travel season tickets
If you paid for a season ticket before lockdown for your commute into work but are no longer using it, you may be able to claim some of the cash back.
Annual season ticket holders are able to apply for a partial refund from the rail operator they bought it from.
Londoners can also ask for a refund for Oystercard season tickets that aren't used any more, as well as any cash on it.
To be eligible for your money back, you'll need at least six weeks left on an annual ticket, seven days left on a monthly ticker or three days on a seven-day ticket.
How to save on your energy bills
SWITCHING energy providers can sound like hassle – but fortunately it’s pretty straight forward to change supplier – and save lots of cash.
Shop around – If you're on an SVT deal you are likely throwing away more than £300 a year. Use a comparion site such as MoneySuperMarket.com, uSwitch or EnergyHelpline.com to see what deals are available to you.
The cheapest deals are usually found online and are fixed deals – meaning you'll pay a fixed amount usually for 12 months.
Switch – When you've found one, all you have to do is contact the new supplier.
It helps to have the following information – which you can find on your bill – to hand to give the new supplier.
- Your postcode
- Name of your existing supplier
- Name of your existing deal and how much you pay
- An up-to-date meter reading
It will then notify your current supplier and begin the switch.
It should take no longer than three weeks to complete the switch and your supply won't be interrupted in that time.
You'll need your Oyster card number and bank account number and sortcode.
Your refund is based on the price of your season ticket, minus the cost of the equivalent travelcards you would have needed when you used it to travel.
You should call TFl on 03432221234. Lines are open 8am until 8pm, Monday to Sunday.
2. Cancel subscriptions you no longer use
Many of us turned to subscription services to entertain ourselves during lockdown – spending on streaming services leapt by 50% in April this year.
The average adult spends more than £500 a year on these subscription services, according to research by Barclaycard Payment, which works out around £42 a month.
Look through your bank statements to find out what services you're still paying for and work out whether you're still using them.
You may find that a service has started charging you after you forgot to cancel a free trial.
If not, contact the service directly to cancel your subscription.
Do not cancel the direct debt as you'll still be signed up to the service and missed payments may be marked on your credit file.
3. Check for rogue payments
Lockdown might be the ideal time for some life admin – and that includes looking through your bank statements.
Check for any rogue payments – anything you don't recognise – because you will be able to get your cash back if it's a mistake.
"Sometimes transactions go through in error – particularly when you’re paying by contactless and are distracted," said Martyn James from complaints site Resolver.
To claim the cash back, you'll need to open an investigation with the business that took the payment. You can do this by contacting their customers services.
Bear in mind, that some businesses have different names on your bank statement.
4. Insurance policies you don't need
Check to see if you're paying for mobile phone or gadget insurance for handsets that you upgraded years ago.
Many home insurance policies also cover phones and gadgets, in which case ditch the extra policy as you're paying twice over for the same cover.
If you think you've been overpaying for insurance, you need to contact your provider.
5. Switch energy providers
With many of us sending more time at home, our gas and electricity bills may be creeping upwards too.
You may be able to save hundreds of pounds a year by switching energy provider.
A cut in the price cap has lowered typical bills to £1,042 – but that’s still far more than you would pay if you shop around.
More than half of families do not regularly switch and are on standard tariffs, which can be pricier than suppliers’ deals for new customers. Here's our guide on how to switch.
What can I claim tax relief on?
THERE are certain things that you can claim tax on under HMRC rules. They include the following:
- Expenses for working from home
- Repairing or replacing small tools needed to do their job (for example, scissors or an electric drill)
- Cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a branded uniform or safety boots)
- Business mileage (not commuting)
- Travel and overnight expenses
- Professional fees and subscriptions
6. Claim back tax on energy bills for working from home
Tax can be claimed back on up to £6 a week to help cover the additional costs of working from home, such as higher energy bills.
The amount of money people can get depends on their tax rate – the highest rate of tax you pay is used to calculate the claim.
For those paying the standard tax rate of 20%, £1.20 per week can be claimed.
While for people who pay tax at the higher rate of 40% can claim £2.40 per week.
Additional rate tax payers who pay 45% can claim £2.70 a week.
To check if you're eligible and to use the online tool, you can visit the page on Gov.uk.
7. Find out if you're owed a tax refund
Those who have recently changed jobs may have overpaid tax – but this can be claimed back.
HMRC will let you know if you are due a tax rebate by sending you a letter called a P800 or a simple assessment letter.
If you don't receive a P800 and think you have overpaid on your tax you can use the government's income tax calculator to figure out how much you should have been paid.
If you think you have overpaid tax through PAYE in the current tax year, tell HMRC before the end of the tax year – April 5, 2021 – and tell them why you think you have paid too much.
You have four years from the end of the tax year in which the overpayment happened to claim a refund.
The phone number is 0300 200 3300 and the website is here.
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