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How Long Does It Take to Get a Tax Refund From HMRC?

Michael Bush

If you’ve discovered you’re owed a tax refund, you probably have questions about the process. When will you get your money? You’ve submitted your application, so why haven’t you heard back yet? Is there anything you can do to receive your refund faster? 

Let’s look at the usual timeframe, why it takes as long as it does, and how to avoid delays.

How Long Does It Take?

It typically takes around eight to twelve weeks for HMRC to process your tax refund. Some people might find their refund is processed faster, while for others it takes longer, but this is the timeframe you can usually expect. 

Once the refund is processed, you will then have to wait for it to be issued. This normally takes around five days but, again, can be quicker or slower, sometimes taking several weeks. So don’t worry if you’re still waiting to receive your refund after a few days have passed. 

The time it takes for your refund to be paid to you varies by payment method. If, for example, your refund is coming to you as a cheque, it should be with you within five weeks, while payments direct to your bank account take up to five working days. If a P800 calculation shows that you’re due a refund, you can ask HMRC to pay it into your account. You have forty-five days to do this before they automatically send you a cheque. If there is no option to have the refund paid directly to your bank account, you’ll receive a cheque, normally within two weeks.

With that said, if you’re concerned about how long things are taking, you can get in touch with HMRC to check on the progress of your application. 

Why Does It Take This Long?

The speed at which you get your refund often depends on how busy HMRC are at the time they receive your application. It’s therefore recommended that you avoid sending applications during busy periods. 

It’s also important to ensure all the details of your application are correct before you submit it, as errors can cause delays.

The amount you’re due to be refunded can also affect how long it takes. Smaller refunds will usually be processed relatively quickly, while you’re likely to find yourself waiting longer for larger amounts. Processing involves security checks, and large refunds may need to be checked more thoroughly. 

Can You Speed Things Up? 

You can’t necessarily get your refund processed faster, but you can make sure it’s done within the normal timeframe. As previously mentioned, one of the best ways to do this is to check your application carefully before you send it, and include all relevant paperwork so that there’s no need for HMRC to get in touch with you and ask for it later – remember, your refund cannot be processed until HMRC have all the information they need. 

Familiarise yourself with HMRC’s busy periods so that you can avoid submitting your application during these times. Applications received during the credit renewals deadline at the end of July might be processed more slowly than those sent during quieter points of the year. This is also the case for applications that arrive during the self assessment deadline at the end of January. 

Submitting an application form online means it will reach HMRC sooner than a physical form, as you don’t have to wait for it to be delivered. If time is a concern, an online application is the best submission option. 

Applying for Your Tax Refund

Now that you know how long it takes and why, you’re better prepared to apply for any tax refunds you may be owed. But you may still have questions, which is where AccountantFor comes in. Having an accountant to support and advise you makes the process much more straightforward. We’ll help you understand your accountancy needs and match you to the perfect accountant to help you achieve your goals.

Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Michael Bush

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