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UK construction workers owed £1.4bn in tax following market boom

The UK construction sector saw its fastest rate of growth in eight months during February despite a problematic pandemic period, the latest construction index reveals.

According to the Construction Purchasing Managers index, this growth has been largely attributed to the lifting of Plan B restrictions as well as an accelerated rise in housing activity, with residential construction now outperforming the commercial sector.

However, with construction workers being one of the first back to work to fuel the pandemic property market boom, tax refund experts RIFT Tax Refunds reports that they are also some of the most likely to be owed money by HMRC.


It’s estimated that one in three of us are actually owed money by HMRC, equating to almost 11 million people across the nation. 

However, RIFT’s research shows that the proportion of us owed a tax refund is far higher when it comes to those in full-time employment across the construction industry – as high as 83%. 

Of the 1.39 million people employed full-time across British construction, RIFT estimates that just over 1.15 million could be owed a tax refund. 

With the average one-year claim sitting at £1,244 per person, that’s just shy of a staggering £1.44 billion owed to those who kept Britain building during one of the most difficult periods in recent history. 

Both the South East (£216.3 million) and London (£216.1 million) are thought to be home to the largest levels of tax owed to construction workers, while the East of England (£177.5 million), the North West (£168.8 million) and Scotland (£124.8 million) could also see some of the highest sums refunded to workers in the sector. 

Even in the North East where the level of tax owed to construction workers is estimated to be at its lowest, RIFT still estimates that they could be eligible to claim as much as £44.4 million. 

Bradley Post, chief executive officer of RIFT Tax Refunds, comments: “It’s fair to say that the pandemic has been extremely challenging for a number of sectors but the construction industry has weathered a particularly fierce storm, having already suffered from a shortage in labour and a sharp increase in the cost of materials following Brexit.”

“All the while, the property market has been booming and yet further pressure has been applied to deliver a consistent level of new residential housing in order to service this unprecedented demand.”

He adds: “Rather than shy away from the task at hand, we’ve seen the construction industry dig in and deliver and the likelihood is that many are now owed more than just a pat on the back for their monumental efforts over the last two years.”

“There’s a very strong chance that those working within the industry could be owed a tax refund if they paid for their own travel or wider expenses while working on-site, regardless of whether they did so on a full-time or self-employed basis.”

“The total amount owed could run into the billions of pounds across Britain and so it’s well worth a check to see if you qualify,” he concludes.

UK construction workers owed £1.4bn in tax following market boom


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