5. You get a pension

You have a private pension

Your pension provider may pay you back automatically if you pay too much tax on your pension.

If your pension provider doesn’t pay you back automatically HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will post you a P800 tax calculation, usually by the end of July.

You’ll normally get a cheque (also known as a ‘payable order’) within 14 days of getting the P800 - you don’t have to do anything.

HMRC don’t send notifications of tax refunds by email. You can report suspicious emails to them.

Call HMRC and tell them why you think you’ve overpaid if:

  • your pension provider doesn’t pay you back automatically and you need a refund within the current tax year
  • you haven’t received a P800

You’ve retired and only get the State Pension

Fill in form P50.

You’ve taken cash or a lump sum from your pension

You may have paid too much tax if you take cash or a lump sum that’s partly tax-free from either:

Lump sums from defined benefit schemes (‘trivial commutation’)

If you fill in a Self Assessment tax return each year, you’ll get a refund when you’ve sent your return.

If you don’t fill in a tax return, fill in form P53 to claim a refund.

Cash from defined contribution schemes (eg lump sum or ‘drawdown’)

If the payment used up your pension pot and you have no other income in the tax year, fill in form P50Z.

If the payment used up your pension pot and you have other taxable income, fill in form P53Z.

If the payment didn’t use up your pension pot and you’re not taking regular payments, fill in form P55. You can only use this form if your pension provider can’t refund you.

You bought a pension annuity after April 2007

Tax on a pension annuity bought after April 2007 is taken through PAYE - the same as a company or personal pension.

HMRC will post you a P800 tax calculation if they know you’ve paid too much tax, usually by the end of July.

You’ll normally get a cheque (also known as a ‘payable order’) within 14 days of getting the P800 - you don’t have to do anything.

HMRC don’t send notifications of tax refunds by email. You can report suspicious emails to them.

Call HMRC and tell them why you think you’ve overpaid if:

  • you haven’t received a P800
  • you need a refund sooner, eg within the current tax year

You bought a pension annuity before April 2007

You can’t reclaim any tax you overpaid before April 2007.

You live abroad

There are different rules for claiming a tax refund on your UK pension income if you live abroad.