Can you cut your tax bill with these little-known rebates?

Don't pay any more than you have to

photo of a uk self employment...

This month, millions of us will be filling in our tax returns ahead of the January 31 deadline - one of the most miserable jobs of the year.

But you can sweeten the pill just a little by cutting the amount you owe through rebates and allowances. Some have been around for a long time, but aren't always well-known; others have only recently come into force.

We look at some of the ways you may be able to claw a little bit back from the taxman.

Married Couples Allowance
According to HMRC, more than 1.3 million couples are claiming the Married Couples Allowance - but another 2.9 million are failing to take it up.

It's worth up to £220 per year, and, since the start of the new tax year in April, couples can backdate their allowance and boost their payment up to £432. It applies whether or not you have to fill in a tax return.

"An extra £432 is a really helpful way to start 2017, especially after Christmas," says Ruth Owen, HMRC's director general, personal tax.

"If you want to get your finances in order this year, it only takes a few minutes to check if you can get the Marriage Allowance tax break at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance."

Savings tax change could leave you with £100 fine

Personal Savings Allowance
The new Personal Savings Allowance lets you take the first £1,000 of interest on savings tax-free if you're a basic-rate taxpayer; or the first £500 if you're a higher-rate taxpayer.

It covers interest on bank and building society accounts, accounts with providers like credit unions or National Savings and Investments and interest distributions (but not dividend distributions) from authorised unit trusts, open-ended investment companies and investment trusts, as well as income from government or company bonds and most types of life annuity payments.

Dividend Allowance
Since April last year, it's been possible to get the first £5,000 you receive in share dividends tax-free, meaning you don't have to declare it. The new Dividend Allowance is available to anyone who has dividend income.

Uniform tax relief
If you wear a uniform for work and have to buy and wash it yourself, you could be in for a little help with the cost. There's a long list of occupations that qualify here.

In theory, it only applies if you wear a recognisable uniform. However, says MoneySavingExpert, "We've heard reports that even plain clothes, without a logo, that you only wear for work may count - it's worth a try."

The amount you can claim varies, but the standard flat rate allowance is £60, meaning that basic-rate tax payers will receive £12 - and you can backdate your claim by five years.

The shop charging a 'Man Tax' of 7%

Professional/union fee tax relief
You can reclaim tax on fees or subscriptions you pay to some approved professional organisations - but only if you must have membership to do your job or it's helpful for your work. There's a list of approved bodies here.

Tax blow for half a million company car drivers

Relief on charitable donations
If you're a higher-rate taxpayer and have made gift-aided charitable donations during the year, you can claim back the higher-rate tax you have paid. If you donated £100 to your favourite charity, you can claim back £25 if you pay tax at 40%. This even applies to, for example, National Trust membership.

Mileage Allowance
If you use your own vehicle for business, you may be able to claim Mileage Allowance Relief of 45p a mile for the first 10,000 business miles travelled and 25p a mile for the rest. Even if your employer pays you a mileage allowance you can still claim some tax back if the amount is less than these government-set rates.



Ten terrible tax excuses

Ten terrible tax excuses