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Your Questions: Can my student son get tax back after working part time this summer?



'Students can claim for emergency tax, according to the consumer tax manager at Taxback.com, Marian Ryan.' (stock image)

'Students can claim for emergency tax, according to the consumer tax manager at Taxback.com, Marian Ryan.' (stock image)

'Students can claim for emergency tax, according to the consumer tax manager at Taxback.com, Marian Ryan.' (stock image)

Q: My son is going into his second year in UCD. He worked part time in a bar for a few months up to the lockdown, but began working again as a hospital porter towards the end of the summer. He had a significant portion of his wages stopped through emergency tax. Is he entitled to get that back? I've also had to help him pay to wash his uniforms at a laundrette due to Covid-19. Should this be factored into his wages?

A: Students can claim for emergency tax, according to the consumer tax manager at Taxback.com, Marian Ryan. It's common for students to end up on emergency tax, she said. It could be the case that your son's new employment has not been fully registered yet with Revenue and that they have not yet received a Revenue Payroll Number for him, or that there has been some backlog in the process of registering him. It's also worth contacting Revenue to check on this, Ms Ryan said. Once his employer has received a RPN (Revenue Payroll Notification) for him, he should receive any overpayment back in his wages. Otherwise, he must complete an annual tax return. However, a return for 2020 can be submitted on January 1, 2021, earliest.

It also sounds like he could be eligible to claim Flat Rate Expenses (FRE) on the cost of his uniform laundry. This is a tax relief that is designed to cover the cost of the tools, uniforms, or equipment needed for work, and it also includes laundering of uniforms. The relief for 2020 available to hospital porters for laundry of uniforms supplied is €185.

Where an employer already has the correct tax information from Revenue and a person's tax credit certificate contains the right info, they will automatically receive their FRE but more often than not, you will have to file a Form 12 and submit it to Revenue.

Q: I have just bought a house in Dublin and want to transfer my credit union savings and open an account in the local branch here. Can I transfer from one credit union to the other and would I have to go through any specific waiting period before I could apply for a loan?

A: Each credit union is a separate legal entity, and membership is open to anyone who meets the common bond, according the chief executive of the Credit Union Development Association, Kevin Johnson. He said this is usually referenced to residing or being employed in a particular locality, or following a particular occupation. When you move to another common bond, you can become a member in your new location credit union and open a savings account, and you also have the option to keep your account in your original credit union if you choose.

In respect of applying for a loan with your new credit union, most credit unions don't require any established savings record and members can open an account and apply for a loan on the same day, Mr Johnson said.

Some may require new members to build up a record of savings before applying for a loan, but as you are bringing a record with you this should not be an issue. The primary consideration will be your ability to repay the loan.

Q: I am about to take out my first home insurance policy in 20 years. I owned a house in Ireland when I was in my 20s, but have been living away since. The forms are a bit convoluted, but I want to be sure I don't make any errors or omissions that could come back to bite me.

A: You are right to be giving this careful consideration, says Deirdre McCarthy of Insuremyhouse.ie.

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Too often people scan through the forms, often making mistakes that can cost them in the event of a claim, she adds. It's important that if you have had a claim before, that you disclose the details accurately. You should also be clear on the details of your property, Ms McCarthy emphasised. The build date is important, as is the rebuild cost.

Don't be tempted to just pluck a figure out of the sky when it comes to valuing your contents, she says. It's worth taking the time to go through each room and consider everything you want to insure. High-ticket items should also be flagged and it's a good idea to take photos of more expensive items, particularly if you no longer have proof of purchase.

When it comes to getting the best price be sure to tell your insurer if you work from home - the greater the occupancy rate, the less risk of burglary. If you have alarms installed this can bring premiums down.

It is common for students to end up on emergency tax due to the employment not being registered with Revenue, or there could be a backlog in the registration process.

If you have had an insurance claim in the past it is important that you disclose the full details accurately to your insurer.

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