3.5 million due tax refund

According to HM Revenue & Customs up to 3.5 million people could be owed a tax refund averaging between £350 and £500.

HMRC make annual checks to ensure that the amount of tax and national insurance deducted by employers matches the information on its records. This year end  reconciliation process began last week and is expected to be completed by October.

The Revenue argues that the vast majority of the 40 million who pay through PAYE are correctly taxed but, because people's circumstances change during the year – for example, they move jobs or enjoy an extra source of income, or there are changes to the employee benefits they receive – there will always be a minority who have paid too much or too little.

An HMRC spokesperson commented "Around 85% of pay as you earn taxpayers pay the right tax throughout the year ... This is the normal process that the PAYE system has used for 70 years."

In total up to 5.5 million people paid the wrong amount of tax.  In addition the 3.5million who paid too much, there are also 2 million who have underpaid.

Those who have paid too much tax will receive a "payable order" (essentially a cheque); these should start arriving early next month.

The vast majority of those who have underpaid tax will probably not get a bill – instead, their tax code will be changed and they will pay back what they owe via deductions from their salary during the 2014-15 tax year. They will receive a letter giving more information.

HMRC has said it is sympathetic to cases of genuine hardship, and those who cannot afford to pay should get in touch. These people may be able to pay what they owe over two or three years.

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