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Pension savers reclaim almost £900m in overpaid tax since 2015 – are you due a rebate worth £1,000s?

Savers dipping into their pension pots have reclaimed £892 million in overpaid tax since 2015, new figures show. If you've taken a taxable lump sum from your pension for the first time, you could be owed too due to a tax code error – here's how to claim the money back.

The £892 million figure comes from investment platform AJ Bell, which analysed HMRC statistics going back to the 2015 introduction of 'pension freedoms' giving those with private pensions more flexibility on how they can access their money.

For full help, including how much you could be owed and how to claim, see our Reclaim overpaid pension tax guide.

You're due money back if you were taxed incorrectly after accessing your private pension

This may have happened if you're over 55 (the age you're allowed to access your pension pot from) and have: 

  • Taken a taxable lump sum from your pension for the first time. 
  • Or withdrawn your whole pension pot at once.

If your pension provider didn't have the right tax code for you when you made the withdrawal – which is common – it has to deduct tax on a 'month one' basis. This means it assumes you will make the same withdrawal every month for the next 12 months and not just the one you have made, so you end up paying £1,000s or even £10,000s in extra tax.

You won't be affected if you've only taken out 25% or less of your pension pot, as you can take a quarter of your pension tax-free – so no tax is charged in the first place.

You should get a refund automatically at the end of the tax year – but you don't have to wait

If you've been affected, HMRC should apply the correct tax code and reimburse you at the end of the tax year on 5 April.

But this is still months away, so if you want the money back quicker, you can submit a claim using the relevant form – which you use depends on your circumstances:

  • Emptied your pension and have no other income in that tax year? Use: P50Z
  • Emptied your pension but have other taxable income that tax year? Use: P53Z
  • Only withdrawn part of your pot? Use: P55

Once you've sent the form you'll get the money back within 30 days, either directly to your bank account or by cheque.

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