With the country in recession, a third COVID induced lockdown and the threat of a sharp rise in unemployment when the furlough scheme ends in April, many people feel uncertain about their financial future.
We could all do with a little boost to our bank balance this year, and you could be owed thousands of pounds and not know about it.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five simple ways to make a little extra money by claiming refunds or compensation.
- Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)
We’ve all heard of PPI claims, but have we all checked if we’re entitled to a refund? Although the deadline for claims passed on 29 August 2019, some people can still request a refund.
- If you submitted a claim before the deadline and have not had a response, you may be allowed to escalate the claim to the Finance Ombudsman Service (FOS).
- If there were exceptional circumstances that prevented you from submitting a claim before the August 2019 deadline. For example, a serious illness that required hospitalisation around the time of the deadline. The definition of “exceptional circumstances” is vague and each case will be assessed individually.
- If you received a PPI payout, you could reclaim the tax charged on the sum awarded.
- If the company that sold you PPI has since failed, you can still apply for a refund to the Financial Services Commission (FSC). But only if the advice regarding your PPI was given on or after 14 January 2005.
- If you are prepared to make your claim via a small claims court. Usually, this is only an option for those who were sold their PPI less than six years ago.
- Tax Relief for Home Workers
The number of people working remotely has shot up in the past year due to COVID and the government telling people to “stay at home” where possible. Many companies plan to embrace a “hybrid” approach to work in the future, with employees spending some time in the office and some time at home.
Yet thousands of workers are missing out on tax relief that could see them pocket up to £6 per week tax-free from 6 April 2020 (or £4 a week for previous tax years). You can either claim tax relief on this flat amount or on the extra costs you incur above this amount by working from home, such as heating, water, broadband and making business calls. The exact sum you will receive depends on the rate at which you pay tax.
Your employer can pay you the relief directly, or you can claim a rebate from HMRC. Anyone who works from home for at least one day is eligible for this tax relief, but it is only an option if your employer asked you to work from home.
- Unfair or Mistaken Credit Card Fees
If your lender has charged you fees in error or their fees are too high, you can claim a refund.
Credit card companies sometimes make errors, such as charging the wrong interest or adding fees for actions you have not taken, such as missing a payment. You are entitled to ask for a refund of any charges made in error.
In 2006, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as it was then called, deemed charges higher than £12 for exceeding a credit limit, missed payments or late payments to be “unfair”. You can claim for the difference between £12 and the charges made as well as for any costs you incurred as a result of these unfair charges.
For example, if you were charged a fee for exceeding your credit limit that resulted from being charged too much interest, you can claim for the excess interest paid as well as for the amount you were charged for exceeding your credit limit. If this sounds complicated, consider engaging a claims management company’s services to submit a claim on your behalf.
- Marriage Tax Allowance
The Marriage Allowance allows you to transfer £1,250 of your personal tax allowance to your spouse or civil partner. The personal tax allowance is the amount you can earn before paying income tax.
This means that if you earn less than £12,570 (the personal tax allowance for 2020/2021), you can transfer the remaining allowance to your partner if their income is higher. This will reduce your collective tax bill by up to £250 in the 2020/2021 tax year.
- Tax Relief for Wearing a Work Uniform
If you are asked to wear a uniform to work for even one day, you can claim tax relief to cover the cost of washing, repairing and replacing specialist clothing.
The average payout is £60, and it takes approximately three weeks to receive the money.
You must claim within four years of the end of the tax year that you spent the money.
- Get a Refund on Student Loan Repayments
Hundreds of people begin repaying their student loan before they are earning enough to do so. You could ask for a refund if your annual income was below the repayment threshold when deductions were first made.
You can also apply for a refund if you’ve paid more than the total amount you owe.
When finances are tight, there is always a little extra money to be found if you do your homework and are prepared to put in a little effort. There could be hundreds or even thousands of pounds with your name on it, just waiting to be claimed. Start looking through your records, accounts and receipts today!