Armed Forces tax refunds can be complex and confusing if you’re not an expert. There are often complicated, multi-leg journeys and overseas travel to consider. It can be tough to know exactly what you can claim for and how to do it. As the UK’s leading tax refund experts, RIFT is in the ideal position to help clear the fog over Armed Forces claims. Here are some of the main questions we handle:

Is it still worth making a tax refund claim this year?

Definitely. It’s always worth making sure you’re not leaving more cash than you owe in the taxman’s hands. In fact, HMRC actively wants you to claim back what you’re due. The trouble is, very few people understand the system well enough to make a full tax refund claim, or have the time to do it properly.




Even if your work travel or conditions have been very different recently, there’s no reason to miss out on the money that’s owed to you. With average Armed Forces tax refunds RIFT coming to around £3,000 for a 4-year claim, it’s an opportunity that’s simply too important to waste.

That’s a hefty chunk of change in anyone’s book, and there’s no reason in the world to leave it sitting in HMRC pockets. An extra few grand or more of refund cash could easily:

  • Put food on your family’s table for over 8 months.
  • Pay off close to 2 year’s worth of household energy bills.
  • Wipe out nagging credit card debts or loans.
  • Kick-start a deposit on a family home.

What am I allowed to claim tax relief for?

The rules for Armed Forces tax refunds (officially confirmed in DIN ‘2015DIN01-005’) say that you can claim back some tax on certain kinds of essential work expenses. These can include things like:

  • Travel to postings of under 24 months.
  • Mess dress upkeep and food or accommodation costs.
  • Travel to required training – this is something that many Armed Forces personnel miss out on.

Start your claim for free

How do the Armed Forces tax refunds work?

In order to get back everything HMRC owes you, you’ll need to back up your tax refund claim with some evidence. We’re talking about things like:

  • Assignment orders and wage slips.
  • Receipts for the costs you’ve paid out yourself.
  • Any P45 or P60 forms you’ve got for the time you’re claiming for.

RIFT makes these kinds of records easy to keep up with. With our RIFT app, you can upload receipts and other key documents on the go at any time. You can even use your phone to scan them directly into the app from anywhere in the world!

Once we’ve got the information we need, RIFT gets to work on putting your claim together. We do all the paperwork, submit your refund claim to HMRC, and then chase them up until it’s paid. All you need to do is plan how you’ll spend the money!

Which military activities could allow me to make a tax refund claim?

Depending on your circumstances, there are many activities you may conduct in your time in the military which could allow you to make a tax refund claim. For example:

  • Time spent on secondments, or at a temporary place of duty, including in support of MACA, such as at Covid-19 testing stations
  • Career courses and trade training, including CMT or even resettlement courses
  • Training conducted at civilian locations such as universities may also apply, if part of career development
  • Pre and Post Deployment training
  • Regular assignments which are below 2 years in duration, both in the UK and overseas

Why choose RIFT to handle my Armed Forces tax refunds?

In addition to being the UK’s top tax refund specialists, RIFT has always been a strong champion of the UK’s Armed Forces. Our Military Engagement events are an opportunity for us to reach out to the Armed Forces and spread the word about tax refunds. Headed up by our Head of Armed Forces Liaison Officer, Shaun Micallef-Green AGC(ETS), they help us to forge truly meaningful connections with the Armed Forces community.

Those connections have allowed us to earn Gold status in the Armed Forces Covenant, in recognition of our support for military personnel and their families. Our partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity allows us to do even more, both through regular donations and our sponsorship of (and participation in) their projects and fundraising.


What else can RIFT do for me?

RIFT doesn’t believe in “one-and-done” tax refund claims. We stick by your side throughout the year, solving problems, answering questions and helping you seize opportunities. For example, if your tax code changes after you’ve made a claim, we’ll check it automatically and get it fixed if it’s wrong. You won’t have to lift a finger. Crucially, all this year-round aftercare is covered by our single fee, with no extra charges or hidden costs.

We treasure our relationship with the Armed Forces community. That’s why we offer an exclusive reduced rate for returning military customers. In addition, we stand by our work. Our unique RIFT Guarantee protects both you and your money. If HMRC ever disagreed with the refund amount we calculated for you, we’d handle all their questions ourselves. In fact, if they ever demanded any of your refund back, we’d pay it from our own pockets, not yours. It wouldn’t cost you a penny!

What our Armed Forces customers say about us

We know that you want to choose someone you can trust to handle sensitive financial matters professionally and efficiently, so don't just take our word ask your friends about us.

98% of our Forces customers say they would recommend us to a friend and we've got a reward scheme to say thank you to those you do.

You can check out more reviews on Trustpilot.

Tax refunds can put serious money back in your hands – and claims can stretch back as far as 4 years, even if you’ve left the Armed Forces in that time. Talk to the UK’s leading tax experts about getting back what you’re owed or use our free tax refund calculator.