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How to raise emergency cash in a flash

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If you need to raise some emergency cash for business or personal reasons, there are some easy ways to claw back funds, according to a report by Rest Less. Here are just a few to get you started.

Get overpayments back from your energy supplier

Did you know that almost half (46%) of UK homes can reclaim an average of £136 each back from their suppliers? One in ten (10%) could be due a rebate of over £200.

Energy suppliers owed 13m households a total of £1.7 billion in energy overpayments in 2020, according to research by comparison site uSwitch.com, a 13.5% (£230m) increase on 2019.

Millions of us have set up direct debits to pay our energy bills monthly, but this can result in us overpaying during warmer months when we’re not using as much gas and electricity. If you think you might have a credit balance you could claim back, get in touch with your supplier and ask for a refund.

Who’s eligible?

Anyone who pays for their energy by direct debit should check their bills to see if they’ve got a big balance sitting in their energy account. If you think you might have an overpayment you could claim back, get in touch with your supplier and ask for a refund. 

You may also be able to save money on your energy bills. For more information, read this guide on saving money on your energy bills.

Advantages

Although you’re unlikely to get a huge amount of money back from your energy supplier, even a couple of hundreds pounds could help alleviate some financial pressure. It’s easy to do too – all you need to do is call your supplier and ask them to return your money.

Disadvantages

The downside of requesting any surplus balance to be refunded now is that when energy bills increase in winter, you may not have enough spare cash in your energy account to cover them. Often your direct debit is based on your likely expenditure over the year, so even though you might be in credit over the summer, in winter this cash may be used to cover steeper bills.

If you’re not sure whether asking for overpayments back is a good idea or not, discuss it with your energy supplier first. You might decide, for example, to take part of your surplus balance back, and leave a bit in your account.

Claim a tax refund if you’ve lost your job

If you’ve recently been made redundant, or have lost your job mid-way through the tax year, you might be eligible for a refund from the taxman, suggests the report.

Income tax is calculated over the full year and so if you lose your job before the end of the tax year, then you won’t have earned as much as HMRC expected you to originally, which means you’ll probably have overpaid tax.

Who’s eligible?

If you’re not working and are made redundant before the end of the tax year (so any time between April 6 and April 5) and you were previously paying tax through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, you might qualify for a tax refund.

The amount you’re likely to receive will depend on various factors, such as how much tax you paid on your earnings while you were in work, and whether you paid tax on any other income. It will also depend on how much you’ve earned since the tax year started. Find out more in this article How to claim a tax refund if you lose your job.

Advantages

If your claim is successful, you’ll either receive a refund directly into your bank account, or you’ll be sent a cheque. If you aren’t entitled to a refund, HMRC will write to you and explain why your claim has been refused.

Learn more about claiming a tax refund here

Disadvantages

You must claim your tax refund within four years from the end of the tax year in which you overpaid. If you don’t make your claim within this period, you won’t be able to get a tax rebate, even if you’re owed a considerable sum.

Get a refund or better deal from your car insurer

The average price motorists paid for their motor insurance in the first quarter of 2021 showed its biggest quarterly fall, currently standing at its lowest level since 2016 according to the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) latest Motor Insurance Premium Tracker.

  • The average price paid for comprehensive motor insurance in the first quarter of this year was £436. This was down £32 (7%) on quarter 4, 2020, being the biggest quarter on quarter drop since the ABI started collecting the data in 2012. 
  • The average premium paid in quarter 1 fell by 8% on the same quarter, 2020.
  • The average price paid for motor insurance, at £436, stands at its lowest level in nearly five years.

According to the ABI you will need to speak with your insurer or broker if there are ongoing changes to your working and driving activities since taking out the policy.  

Customers who pay monthly may want to ask to have their outstanding premium reduced if they drove considerably less during the UK’s lockdown periods, while annual customers may receive a refund.

Did you volunteer during lockdown?

Did you know that if you volunteered to help out in the pandemic and you used your own vehicle to do things such as transporting medicines or groceries to support people impacted by COVID-19, this will continue to be covered at no extra cost by the vast majority of ABI members.

However, not all insurers are the same, so don’t get caught out. Best to inform them if this activity if you are a volunteer driver. Plus, it is good to know whether your insurer is part of the ABI, which you can check out here on the ABI website

For more ideas on how to raise cash in a flash, read the Rest Less report here.

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