If you were to ask any of the representatives on the RIFT Roster what the most rewarding part of the job was, you’d always get the same answer: helping people. Tax refunds aren’t about “getting one over” on HMRC. They’re about making sure the taxman always plays fair. People work hard for their money, and it’s our mission to make sure they never end up losing out to the taxman.

Mary Daly is a fantastic representative for RIFT, and someone we’re incredibly lucky to work with. Here’s what helping our customers means to her:

How did you get here?

Before I came to RIFT, I was a catering Manager. I enjoyed it a lot, and it taught me a great deal about dealing with people and catering for their needs. These days, so many people are struggling day-to-day.

Just getting by can be hard enough, but doing it when you’re leaving so much of your own cash at HMRC can be virtually impossible. It’s important for people to have a champion – someone to speak out for them and ensure they’re treated fairly. That’s what RIFT is, for me.

Why did you choose RIFT?

I’ve always loved working with people, so I knew I wanted to work somewhere that made a real-world difference. I’d known Jan Post, RIFT’s MD, for years before landing a job here. I’ve done a lot of charity work over the years, so we moved in some of the same circles. I was actually awarded a British Empire Medal by the Queen for services to charity in Ashford and Kent, and formed a committee to help raise £1.6 million to build an MS therapy centre in Canterbury. I’ve also done a lot of event organising for The Lighthouse Club, which is an amazing construction industry charity that RIFT partners with.

Mary Daly was awarded the British Empire Medal by the Queen for services to charity in Ashford and Kent

Jan and I were obviously very much on the same page about the importance of those kinds of relationships. That’s one of RIFT’s greatest strengths. They really understand the human element behind all the number crunching and legal regulations.

Obviously, at heart what we’re doing is getting money back for people - but our awareness and understanding of what people are going through and what they need from us is what really sets RIFT apart. I’m delighted to play any part in that process that I can.

What are your duties as a RIFT Rep?

A lot of my time is spent making on-site visits across London and the South East, meeting people and building relationships. It’s not enough to just keep signing up new customers and getting their tax refunds paid out. You’ve got to take the whole journey with them. Everybody’s situation and circumstances are different, and understanding that is what lets you find the best way to help them.

Mary Daly at Fore Business Golf Day spreading the word about RIFT tax refunds

I meet with people wherever’s easiest for them: in pubs, on site or in the park, for instance. I also go to events, helping to spread the word about tax refunds and talking people through how the forms and documents all work. The tax system is chock-full of rules and jargon, which can easily put people off claiming back what’s theirs. Putting them at ease is a big part of the job - as is showing them that, with the right help, it’s possible to set things straight.

What’s the best part of the job?

Honestly, I really just enjoy talking common sense to people over a cup of tea in the canteen. It’s fantastic to have that opportunity to cut through all the nonsense and “legalese”. When you see the look on people’s faces when you show them how much money they’re owed, it’s just incredibly rewarding.

At first, many can’t even quite believe it. That’s why I always take care to go through all the eligibility questions to lay out what it all means. Mistakes are a huge reason why people get in trouble with their tax refunds. We take good care of our customers, so they’re always protected and never have to worry.

Mary Daly helps her first ever RIFT customer

I still remember the look on the face of the first person I ever claimed a tax refund for. I even have a photo!

What kinds of things do most people have trouble with?

The “temporary workplace” rules can be a real problem, for one thing. It sound simple enough in principle, but once you get into it there are some fiddly details that can really trip people up. It can also be tough to remember all the places you’ve worked – particularly when you’re claiming for up to 4-years’ worth of tax refunds.

Luckily, we’ve got a really in-depth understanding of the industry. That means we can figure out which sites and projects customers have worked on, and what they’re owed for their travel and so on. We’ve got bespoke software that can even find places that no longer exist, or which don’t have post codes. That’s the kind of expertise that a traditional accountant simply can’t match.

Sometimes, you meet people who need help with more than just tax refunds. That’s where my background with The Lighthouse Club and other charities comes in. Construction is a really demanding industry to work in, and it can take a toll on you. When someone’s struggling, I know I can put them in touch with support services and real-practical help.

What’s life outside of work like for you?

Well, I’ve had a pretty varied life so far, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, which has made me determined to do what I can to help other people with the disease. In fact, the highlight of my life was probably addressing over 900 people in Canterbury Cathedral to launch National MS Awareness Week in 2012.

Mary Daly launching National MS Week in Canterbury Cathedral

I’m quite a keen golfer, and organise golf days regularly. The Lighthouse Club does a lot of these, of course, which RIFT always supports. I still work with charities as much as possible - and I’ve successfully run 2 London Marathons, raising £17,000 and £25,000 for the MS Centre.

Mary Daly at the end of the London Marathon 2012

I’m an ambassador for Fore Business Golf Networking, a volunteer for the Olympics (I got to drive Francois Hollande around) and gaffer of my son’s football team, Ashford United Under-15s.

Mary Daly at the Olympics

So, you know, I do try to keep myself busy!


RIFT is the UK's leading tax rebate and tax return experts. If you work in construction and think you could be owed a tax refund then get in touch. Or if you're working in London or the South East, look out for Mary!