HMRC brown envelopes dropping on worker’s doorsteps with £1,941 boost | Personal Finance | Finance

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It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your doormat this week as His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is sending out ‘brown envelopes’ which you must open and could end up giving you a cash boost worth an average of over £600.

Life insurance broker LV says the HMRC letters will be sent out throughout this month, with important information inside about what tax you’ve paid in the previous year and how it was spent.

One woman, who works at The Times, Lilly Russell, said she was dumbfounded to have found she overpaid her tax by £177 a month and following a brown HMRC envelope was repaid £1,941.

At the same time as the brown envelope, you should receive a P60 from your employer which will set you what you were paid in salary both net and gross. It’s important to keep both documents and cross check one against the other so you can be sure there haven’t been any mistakes with your earnings which could cost you down the line – or possibly even lead to a fine.

You could end up being handed an automatic repayment if HMRC realises you paid too much tax. For example, if you started a new job or were only employed for parts of the year, you could have been switched to an emergency tax code at some point in the year, overpaid tax, and be due a refund, which will be set out in the brown envelope’s letter.

According to a survey by Canada Life, the average payout to anyone who overpaid tax was £689.

The bad news, of course, could be that you actually underpaid your tax for the year just gone, which could actually cost you £783 instead.

If you’ve checked and double checked it, and your tax code is correct and it matches up with your P60, you have no option but to pay it.

LV’s Gillian Wrigley said: “If you don’t have the money to hand, explain that and they should devise a doable payment plan. It might seem hard to believe, but HMRC is staffed by humans, and if there IS a problem and you contact them straightaway, they will usually be helpful.”

Finally, it’s also wise to check if the letter is genuine. There are a lot of scams which piggyback off HMRC’s name especially at this time of year, so if in doubt, call HMRC directly on 0300 200 3300 and not via any website or number on the letter, which may have been swapped out to fool you.

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