HMRC’s best kept secret – millions of pounds are available in tax refunds for social workers

A feature sponsored by specialist tax rebate company SRS social workers

In 2002 it was estimated that tax rebates worth over £60 million went unclaimed. A decade later this figure is estimated to be over £110 million.

This situation has arisen because of the lack of understanding of EIM32900. Buried within the largest, most complicated tax guide in the world lies a guideline that clearly states that social workers, nurses, teachers and fellow professionals are entitled to claim tax relief on their union and professional fees.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) allows this tax relief as it recognises that in order to practise your profession, it is beneficial to be a member of a union or professional association that is relevant to your work, and as such these fees should not be taxable.

A social worker paying £207 a year to Unison is entitled to claim tax relief on 70% of this value. When combined with their care council fees a 20% tax payer could backdate a claim for four years and receive a cheque worth between £150 and £250. A 40% tax payer will obviously receive more.

To make future savings, social workers can have their tax free allowance increased to incorporate professional subscriptions. This will be particularly useful for General Social Care Council (GSCC) members transferring to the increased registration fees of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

For obvious reasons, HMRC have little interest in encouraging social workers to claim back tax by promoting this entitlement or by simplifying their claim procedure. It would cost them millions.

It is not just experienced social workers who are unaware of their right to claim. Many senior union representatives, accountants and even tax office officials are unaware of this secretive tax guideline.

Even those who are aware can be discouraged from applying. The main reasons are lack of time, tedious phone calls and additional HMRC paperwork. Although Tax Office officials do not deliberately try to prevent you from making a claim, they do have complicated procedures, confusing jargon and a very rigid system.

With the current state of the government’s finances it is very likely that they could decide to abolish this tax relief altogether. Since few social workers are aware of their right to claim and even less actually claim it, the tax officials would correctly assume that nobody would notice its withdrawal.

SRS social workers was established to assist social workers to reclaim the tax overpaid on their union and professional fees. As an HMRC registered agent we have already been trusted by over 10,000 teachers, nurses and social workers to claim their rebates. Within the last 12 months alone we have secured over £1.5 million for fellow professionals.

Our experience of HMRC paperwork, procedures and especially tax officials has allowed us to reduce the claim time from three months to six weeks. For a fixed administration fee of £48 (including VAT) we deal exclusively with HMRC on your behalf. No bank details are required and our fee is only deducted from your HMRC cheque. Your personal information is stored securely, and will never be sold on to third parties.

If you have any questions about your entitlement or to make your claim, our experienced staff will only be too happy to assist you, simply call our helpline 0161 370 6555 or e-mail You can also visit our website for more information.

Inform your colleagues and friends by downloading our leaflet, you can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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