Tax Refunds for Armed Forces personnel

Current or ex- services and MOD personnel can claim military tax refunds on travel expenses for temporary postings of under 24 months, even outside the UK. Using your own vehicle or public transport counts towards your MOD tax rebate claim. You can claim back an average £2,500 in overpaid tax for the last 4 years.

What Do I Need For An MOD Tax Rebate?

MOD tax refunds can be complicated, but RIFT’s experts in Forces travel and expenses handle everything for you. All we need is the following documents and our award winning team will do all the hard work to build your tax refund claim:

List of bases you’ve attended – Copies of assignment orders are helpful here and are available from JPA. Be aware they are deleted after 60 days. You should also include any time spent on courses as this can be claimed for as well.

Monthly payslips

If you haven’t got all of your payslips, you can download them from the JPAC website.

Other supporting documents – If you can get them, MOT certificates, P60s and P45s can also help your claim. Don’t worry if you can’t provide these though, we can still reclaim your military tax refund without them.

Other information – We’ll ask you a few simple yes/no questions about your financial circumstances. For instance, we’ll ask if you have any other money coming in (like rental income), and whether you have a student loan or a private pension. The MOD accommodation rules may also have an impact so we will need to understand your living arrangements. This helps us calculate the value of tax you’ve overpaid.

Receipts for Mess Dress.

You will also be required to set up a Personal Tax Account. It’s free and lets you see all your tax information in one place. That includes all information from employers, banks and building societies and other government departments.

We know you’re short of time, so we keep everything simple by setting up a free MyRIFT account for you. MyRIFT lets you see and update all the key information needed for your claim, even if you’re deployed overseas. Accurate information is the key to getting the best from your refund – and getting it fast. MyRIFT puts your claim on the fast track.

What can I claim for as part of my military tax refund?

In order to maximise the MOD tax relief you can claim, we may also be able to claim for the following on top of your Forces travel to temporary postings:

Mess dress.

Food costs.

Travel to any training courses necessary for your job.You can get an idea of how much you might be able to claim back by using our HMRC tax refund calculator. It takes less than a minute to complete and will give you an instant estimate of how much your refund could be.

How long does an MOD tax refund take to process?

It takes about 8-10 weeks for HMRC to process your MOD tax refund. RIFT has 7 military claims specialist teams working hard to maximise your refund and get it to you fast.The sooner you start your MOD tax relief claim and provide the information we need, the sooner you get your cash back.

Will my tax code change if I claim an MOD Tax Refund?

Your tax code is an important thing to keep tabs on, especially after claiming a tax rebate. It tells HMRC what you can earn before paying tax and lists any specific circumstances that affect you. Sometimes, when you claim back your PAYE tax from HMRC, they decide to alter your tax code to account for the expenses you’ve claimed. When they do this, they ten to assume that those expenses will stay the same from year to year and decide to charge you less tax from now on to compensate.

The problem is, your expenses are likely to change quite a lot over time – particularly when your MOD job involves things like overseas travel. If you don’t get your code fixed when it’s wrong, you can end up paying the wrong amount of tax and needing to settle up with HMRC (one way or the other) down the line. Tax codes can also change for other reasons, and they’re not all bad news. Every time your tax-free Personal Allowance goes up, for example, your tax code will change do you don’t pay too much on your earnings.

The most important thing to understand about all this is that RIFT has you covered. When we sort out your tax refund, we’ll check whether any changes have been made to your tax code, and get it fixed if it’s wrong. We do it automatically and it won’t cost you a penny. It’s all part of the RIFT service!

Tax codes can be tricky to get your head around, and it’s not always easy to know where you stand. HMRC’s supposed to let you know when they’re changing your code ( they explain it all in a form called a P2 Coding Notice), but it’s always worth checking your code whenever you’re dealing with them. If you spot a change – whether or not they’ve told your about it- and don’t know why it’s happened, get in touch with RIFT. If there’s a problem, we’ll sort it out with no stress or hassle at your end.

Many people are worried about tax codes because they sound much more difficult than they actually are. We’re here to help, though, and there’s more information on our HMRC tax codes explained pages.

MOD supports Armed Forces tax rebates

Despite what some may have heard, Armed Forces tax rebate claims are completely within HMRC’s rules. RIFT always knew this was true, and we fought hard to get the proof to provide this service to you. You can read the letter DIN ‘2015DIN01-005’ the MOD send us for assurance that Armed Forces tax refunds are 100% legit and allowed.

How tax refunds work in the Armed Forces

Our MOD tax experts know HMRC’s complex tax rules inside out, so when John got in touch with us, we knew we could help him get the military tax rebate he deserved. John, from Blackburn, Lancashire, has been in the Forces since 2004. In July 2008, he was posted to RAF Benson for two years, but after eight months, he was deployed on operational tour. When he returned six months later, John went back to RAF Benson for another eight months. He was then transferred to Cambridge for a year, and then spent 16 months at Blackwater. John drove home most weekends from his UK bases, clocking up around 400 miles per week.

Thanks to our expertise in handling military tax refunds, our team knew that because John spent less than two years at each base, HMRC views them as temporary workplaces. This means that he was eligible for a military tax refund on the cost of his travel. Because John received Get You Home (GYH) allowance of around £2,500 per year, with no tax to pay, this reduced the total amount he could claim. However, John was delighted that we successfully managed to claim back £3,310 for his travel for the last four years.

Armed forces travel refund information

It doesn’t matter which branch of the service you’re in, you’re still entitled to MOD tax relief from HMRC. The Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force can all claim military tax refunds for up to the last 4 years of Forces travel they’ve done. Even if you’ve left the Armed Forces, you can still get tax back for travel to temporary postings.

In the Armed Forces, travel tax rebates have often been a touchy subject. RIFT fought hard with HMRC and the MOD to clear up the bad information and get Forces Mileage Claims back on the table. Even if you’re already getting a travel refund at the Motor Mileage Allowance rate, you could still be owed money.

For instance, let’s assume you’re getting an MMA allowance of 20p per mile travelled. For temporary postings that qualify for an Armed Forces travel refund, HMRC says you should get:

45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles travelled.

25p per mile after that.

The MMA rate is actually lower than HMRC’s own Approved Mileage Allowance payment rates. Assuming you’re travelling to a temporary posting of under 24 months, you’re likely to be covered by HMRC’s travel refund rules. This means you could claim a Forces travel refund based on the difference between the AMAP and MMA rates.

How much information do you need about the journeys I’m making?

When we’re working out the full amount of MOD tax relief you’re entitled to, the more information we have the better. MOD travel can get pretty complicated, with several legs to your journeys when you’re posted overseas. Wherever possible, tell us about every stage of your travel to and from your base. When it comes to claiming back everything the taxman owes you, the little details can really make a difference.

For example, suppose you were posted to Bad Fallingbostel back in the 2014-15 tax year, before the base was closed. Let’s say you were living in Ashford, Kent at the time. The journey to your posting might look something like:

Driving about 23 miles to Dover.
Taking the ferry from Dover to Calais.
Driving or taking public transport for close to 450 miles from Calais to the base in Bad Fallingbostel.

You might expect claiming a tax refund in Germany would be a nightmare. Every leg of that journey adds to your total travel costs. Not only are you burning fuel on the land sections, but you’ve also shelled out for the ferry costs. The cost of international travel can also vary considerably at different times of the year, or even different times of the day.

When you come to make your MOD tax refund claim, HMRC are going to want every detail you can give them. That’s why it’s so important to keep good records.

Without receipts or other evidence, it can be tough to get the taxman to part with your cash. If HMRC select your claim for a spot-check enquiry, we need to be able to prove when, where and how you travelled.

Of course, with MyRIFT, those crucial details are simple to track and update, wherever you are in the world. Just fill in the costs you’re paying as you go and we’ll use them to build a complete picture of what HMRC owes you.

Do I need to keep my Assignment Orders?

Yes! These are very important as we need to have documentary evidence to support your military tax refund claim.

Make sure you keep a copy of each of your Assignment Orders for each base that you have travelled to. You can print these from JPA but please note these are deleted after 60 days

See our checklist of the documents you will need to make a claim. We can help you get copies of anything that you are missing, if needed.

Why do I need to provide wage slips?

Your wage slips show us whether you’ve received expenses toward your travel. If you have to deduct this from your claim.

If you haven’t, we need the wage slips to show that no deduction is required.

What if I haven’t got my wage slips or P60’s?

No worries. You can download your wage slips from the JPAC website. For P60’s, we can get them for you from HMRC

The MOD issued a full statement of support for Armed Forces personnel making tax refund claims. Make sure your hard earned cash is back in your pocket, where it belongs.

How should I record my expenditure for my fuel tax rebate?

To claim a HMRC tax rebate for your MOD travel expenses, you’re going to need to keep good records. One of the best ways to do this is with a log book, which you can get from RIFT. Once you’ve got your book, make a point of recording in it all the miles you’re travelling on MOD business. It’s important to be systematic and specific when keeping your records. You’ll be glad you were when your refund rolls in.

It’s also vital that you understand which of your journeys count for your fuel tax rebate and which don’t. You can talk to RIFT to make sure you’ve got it straight.

When you’re heading out it’s a good idea to make a note of the mileage on your vehicle’s clock. Do the same when you get where you’re going and keep your logs up to date.

If you prefer keeping your records online instead of in an easily misplaced book, you can do so via MyRIFT. Alternatively, to keep things simple, just keep notes of the postcodes or addresses of the places you’ve worked and we’ll do the calculations for you.

Can I claim a UK tax refund if I’m posted overseas?

Just like anyone else, you’re entitled to a UK tax refund for travel expenses to and from temporary workplaces. If you’re making your own way from a UK residence, you could have a pretty big refund on your hands. Watch out, though – if your family has moved abroad with you, then your main residence might be outside the UK. In that case, you can’t claim for your travel costs.

Find out everything you need to know about paying UK tax if you work overseas on our site or get in touch.

What can I reclaim tax for?

If you’ve been using your own vehicle or public transport, you could be owed tax back.

An average refund runs around £600-£800 per year.

Travel to bases outside the UK counts too.

You might even be able to claim for Mess Dress.

You can get an idea of what you might be able to claim back from our HMRC Tax calculator. It takes less than a minute to complete and gives you an instant estimate.

Can MOD Personnel claim a tax rebate for meals?

Yes, meals are allowed as expenses when you’re posted to a temporary base – and they’re absolutely worth claiming. An average MOD tax refund claim typically includes £250 from meal expenses alone each year. Claiming back your meal costs could boost your tax refund by 35%, which stacks up to about £12,000 over your working life! Here are some things to keep in mind:

If you pay directly in the Cookhouse or Mess, you’re probably paying in cash and might have trouble getting receipts. Make sure you keep a record anyway. Even a photo of the price board will go a long way toward proving what you’ve spent.

If you’re an officer you probably have the option to get an expenses receipt at the end of the month. You can either keep that or take a photo of it. You should also be able to ask for copies of them from your administration department if needed.

If you’re part of the Hungry Soldier Scheme, the cost is taken directly out of your salary in arrears. This should be visible on your payslips.

Exactly what you can claim for will depend on your circumstances. There are specific rules about married quarters and Substitute Living Single Accommodation, for example. Talk to RIFT to find out exactly what you qualify for.

What’s an MOD Commitment bonus?

If you’ve completed a set number of years in the service as a non-commissioned regular, you might qualify for a Commitment Bonus. The bonus scheme you’re on will depend on the date you joined up. Generally, you can choose to take your bonus either in stages or as a lump sum later on. The longer you wait, the more you stand to get. As always, there are a few hoops to jump through to get your bonus – and some tax implications to think about, since it can bump your year’s income up quite a bit.

After the 1st of April 2021, the whole Commitment Bonus system’s coming to an end, so make the most of it while you can!

MOD Commitment Bonus

Does my Commitment Bonus affect my MOD tax refund?

Not automatically, no. There’s a common misconception that Commitment Bonuses are tax deductible and that you can claim something back for them. Sadly, that’s just not true. However, that doesn’t mean the taxman isn’t interested in your bonus at all. In HMRC’s eyes it still counts as income, and so they’ll still want to get their bite of it.

Now for the slightly more complicated bit. Depending on your basic salary, your Commitment Bonus could theoretically boost you into a higher tax bracket for the year. That might be a little painful, but it could make a difference to the tax you can claim back. If you go over the threshold, it’s possible you might get some of your refund at the higher 40% rate instead of the basic 20% one. Whatever the case is, RIFT will steer you right to make sure you get back everything you’re entitled to.

Can Reservists and Territorial Army personnel claim?

To get a tax refund, HMRC says you need to be travelling to temporary workplaces. Reservists and Territorial Army personnel tend to spend most of their service in one place, which wouldn’t qualify and is an example of when you wouldn’t be able to claim an MOD tax refund.

That said, your circumstances might be different from most. Get in touch if you want us to look into it for you. It costs you nothing to find out where you stand. Answer our 4 questions to take the first step toward your Forces tax rebate. They take less than a minute to complete and could be worth an average of £2,500 for a 4-year claim.

Find out if you need to complete a HMRC Self Assessment Tax Return or if you can claim Flat Rate Expenses.

Scroll to Top