Q. I recently lost my job. I understand I may be entitled to a tax refund – how do I go about getting one?

A. Sorry to hear this. For PAYE workers your tax liability is spread out evenly over the year. To ensure that this is achieved, your tax liability is normally calculated on a cumulative basis. Any tax credits and standard tax rate cut off points which are not used in a pay period, are carried forward to the next pay period within that tax year.

This means that when an employer calculates your tax liability, they actually calculate the total tax due from 1 January to the date which your most recent wages are paid. This means that if you lose your income due to unemployment, you will have unused tax credits and may be due a tax refund.

Your employer should have given you a P45 on the cessation of your employment and this will be what you use to claim the refund.

When you have been unemployed for four weeks you can claim a refund from your local Revenue office, by using the four weeks unused tax credit. You can do this every four weeks until all tax has been repaid or the tax credits are used. You cannot carry unused tax credits forward from one tax year to the next. Obviously, the later in the year you become unemployed the more of your tax credits you will already have used up and the less refund you can claim.

If emergency tax was deducted from you, you may apply immediately for a refund on becoming unemployed.

To claim a refund you should ask your local Revenue office for Form P50 – First Claim for Tax Repayment during Unemployment – (PDF, 289KB) and return the completed form together with Form P45 (Parts 2 & 3) given to you by your former employer.

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