03 Nov 17:00 by Alejandro Rodriguez Garcia


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Armed Forces and Service Leavers could be eligible for a tax refund as RIFT can claim back travel expenses for the last four years.

While in service, if you drove your own vehicle to base and were posted to different temporary bases (including outside the UK), there’s a good chance the taxman owes you a £2,500 refund.

Established in 1999, RIFT is the UK’s leading tax refund expert and has already reclaimed over £8 million for Armed Forces personnel including Service Leavers.

Here we offer advice on tax refunds, what they are and how you can start your claim with RIFT.

What is the claim actually for?

It’s for tax relief on the cost of traveling between your main residence and your workplace. Your main residence is the place you go home to when you’re on leave. We can also claim for Phase 2 training locations, but cannot claim for Phase 1 and 3.

I already get expenses, can I still claim?

If you receive 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles plus 25p per mile thereafter, and you haven’t paid tax on these amounts, great – you’re being fully reimbursed. If it’s anything less, you’re entitled to claim the difference which is where we can help.

I receive Get You Home (GYH) and / or Home to Duty Travel (HDT) allowances. Can I still claim?

Most likely, yes. The amounts you receive don’t normally cover everything you’re entitled to. It is important for you to know that we deduct HDT or GYM allowances from any claim we make as both are paid non-taxed.

I live in married quarters, can I claim?

If you live in married quarters, on or off base, and spend your leave periods there, that would normally be classed as your main residence. The claim in this case would be for travel between your married quarters and your daily workplace, if your mileage is high enough. If you already receive a Home to Duty allowance for this, we would review the amounts received against the allowable limits and claim for any shortfall.

I live with my partner/parents, can I claim?

Yes, it’s still classed as your main residence.

I live on base, can I claim?

If you live on base pat of the time but go home to another address for weekends or longer periods of leave, the leave address would be classed as your main residence. The claim in this case would be for travel between your home address and your accommodation on base. If you already receive a Get You Home allowance for this, we would review the amounts received against the allowance limits and claim for any shortfall.

I’m based abroad, can I claim?

Yes, you can claim for travel to and from a UK residence. If your family are in another country with you, your accommodation there would normally be classed as your main residence.

Can’t I do my own claim?

Yes. But please be aware that you will need to comply with the legislation on temporary workplaces and have the time to liaise directly with HMRC. However if you don’t apply the rules correctly and claim more than you are entitled to, HMRC may seek to recover some or all of your refund.

Can HMRC demand the money back?

Yes, as explained above, HMRC can if you’ve claimed too much. The difference from doing it yourself is that we assess your claim thoroughly against the legislation and providing you give us full and accurate information, we offer you our RIFT Guarantee. This means that if any money recovered is repayable to HMRC, RIFT will make the repayment at no cost to you. We will also defend any HMRC enquiry free of charge – it’s all part of our service.

Do I need to keep my Assignment Orders?

Yes, you’ll need them to claim next year’s refund. If you want to continue to get a tax refund for your travel from home to base, please ensure you keep a copy of each of your Assignment Orders for each base that you have travelled to. Without an Assignment Order, HMRC may reject your travel expense claim.

A colleague told me that service personnel can’t claim back taxes, is this true?

We've had formal confirmation this year from the Ministry of Defence that service personnel are allowed to claim tax refunds using the HMRC legislation we work under. You can read the full communications here:

Will it cost me anything to find out if I can claim?

It’s free to find out if you are eligible for a claim, we just need to ask you a few qualifying questions first. If you do have a claim, you are not under any obligation to use our services and we don't charge you anything until we get you your refund.

I’ve heard you change our tax codes to get the refund, is this true?

No its not. Your refund comes from overpaid income tax.

Will my tax code change after I make a claim?

Potentially. HMRC have automated systems in place that include expenses into your tax code, so if you recently received a refund for a travel claim, HMRC includes those exact same allowances into your current job code. This is based on the assumption that you will do exactly the same miles in the current year. Unfortunately they do not take into account the fact that your circumstance may change e.g. you are posted to a different base, you travel less frequently, or your base becomes a permanent place of work (based on HMRC’s definition). If any of these happen then you are not entitled to the same level of relief, and when HMRC ask you to justify the allowance at the end of the year, you have effectively paid too little tax, and the taxman will has for the money back. This causes a lot of confusion as people can be lead to believe when HMRC ask for money back it's the money they got in their refund.

At RIFT, we want to ensure people pay the correct amount of tax – not too much, or too little – so when we are alerted to a change in a client’s tax code, we will discuss with the client first and then HMRC to get the tax code corrected. This is all included as part of our service to look after you.

How do I start a claim with RIFT?

To find out if you are due a tax refund, call today on 01233 628648, text RIFT to 80010 or log on to