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HMRC 'technical issue' leaves taxpayers unable to claim refunds online

People who've overpaid tax and been told they're due refunds have been unable to claim them online due to ongoing technical problems with HM Revenue & Customs' repayment system, can reveal.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) usually allows people who have overpaid tax to reclaim what they're owed online, but it says this has been impossible recently due to a technical issue with its online PAYE repayment system – the system used to process refunds for employees who pay tax and national insurance automatically as they earn.

HMRC hasn't said how many people have been affected or how long the problems have been going on for, but we've seen complaints from MoneySavers and those on social media who've been experiencing difficulties with the system for several weeks now.

However, HMRC says the underlying technical problem has now been fixed and it expects the online refunds system to be back up and running "this weekend", ie, by Sunday 28 June at the latest. It's also apologised for the problems and says people who have already applied for a refund will receive their money in the coming weeks.

Use our Free Tax Code Calculator to check if you could be owed a tax rebate.

'Especially during this time, people are in need of this money'

Multiple MoneySavers have contacted us about this issue in the last few days, and we've seen dozens more complaints on social media.

One MoneySaver emailed us yesterday to say: "I received a tax refund letter yesterday and tried to claim online, only to find a message saying the online payment service is not available. Especially during this time, people like myself are in need of this money."

Another said: "My wife has recently received a P800 from HMRC advising that she has overpaid income tax and is due a substantial refund. Been advised to claim it online, and found online refunds unavailable."

A third said: "I applied for my refund over two weeks ago. It states it should take five to seven days to get the refund. When it still hadn't arrived after two weeks, I called them and they said they had 'technical issues' and were unable to give an estimated date when this will be fixed. This seems extremely strange."

I've been unable to claim a tax refund – what should I do?

The good news is that HMRC insists the underlying problem has now been fixed and that its online refunds system will start working again this weekend. So if you've not yet been able to submit a claim, while the delay may be frustrating it's probably best to wait until its system is back up and running again.

If you have already submitted a claim and are still waiting for your refund to come through, HMRC says this should happen automatically, so you shouldn't need to take any action. If you requested the refund to be paid into your bank, it should arrive by Thursday 2 July at the latest. If you requested a cheque, you should receive it by Monday 13 July at the latest.

What does HMRC say?

HMRC said the outage was caused by a "technological issue" which has now been resolved.

It has also apologised to those complaining on social media, saying: "We're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Why might someone claim a PAYE tax refund?

There are various reasons why you might be owed a tax refund by HMRC on what you've had deducted through PAYE. Examples include:

  • If you changed jobs part way through a tax year and had already paid more tax than you needed to, based on what you were expected to end up earning throughout the tax year.

  • If you were made redundant part way through a tax year, and similarly to the above, had already paid more tax than you needed to.

  • Your employer uses the wrong tax code and as a result sends wrong information to HMRC. For more on this, see How to find and check your tax code.

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