If you wear a work uniform, you could claim £100s in tax relief

Can you claim tax relief on your work clothes?

If you work for a company and you need to wear a uniform and keep it clean or ensure you have appropriate tools or equipment for the job, it’s very likely that you could be getting some money back from the taxman. Here’s a guide to see if you could be claiming tax relief on your work clothing.

Are you eligible?

According to HMRC guidance, you can claim tax relief if you are an employee and you either:

  • clean your work uniform

  • spend your own money on repairing or replacing equipment you need to do your job

You cannot claim... -- If your employer pays the expenses. -- If you are self-employed. Then you claim this tax relief in a different way, via your self-assessment tax return each year.

If you work for an employer, however, and you pay the costs from your own personal income, you can claim what is termed a ‘flat rate’ tax relief, which means you get a set amount of money off your tax bill each year.

You also cannot claim for Personal Protective Equipment. If you need PPE to stay safe at work, to use PPE your employer should either provide this free of charge or ask you to pay upfront and then reimburse you.

How does it work?

The amount of tax relief you get will not be the same as the amount of expenses you have claimed for. Instead, you’ll get a percentage of the total cost back from income tax you have paid, and that amount is based on the rate at which you pay tax.

For example, if you claim £100 per year for having your uniform laundered or for buying equipment to help you do your job, and you pay tax at the basic rate of 20%, you’ll get tax relief of £20. If you claim the standard flat rate of £60 for uniform cleaning, you’ll get £12 money back from the income tax you have paid.

What kinds of costs are covered?

Cleaning your uniform The HMRC definition of a uniform is a set of specialised clothing that’s recognisable as identifying someone as having a particular occupation, for example, nurse or police uniforms, or it could just be a branded T-shirt. The question to ask yourself is, would a member of the public recognise your employer if you were out and about in your uniform?

A uniform is not clothing of a similar design or colour that you must wear for work (for example, wearing a shirt in corporate colours). You cannot claim for everyday clothing, and only nurses and midwives can claim for replacing shoes, socks and underwear.

You can claim flat-rate tax relief (by stating how much it costs you to do this laundering each year) if you wash the uniform given to you by your employer. However, if your employer provides a laundering service that they pay for, and you choose not to use it you won’t be able to claim, so double-check this isn’t the case.

Repairing or replacing your small tools The cost of fixing or buying new, small tools and equipment can be included in your claim. For example, scissors, if you’re a hairdresser or spanners if you’re a mechanic.

How to claim

Step 1: Check how much you can claim -- different industries have allowances for different amounts.

Industries that are included are all workers in the food industry, agriculture, building and building materials, healthcare staff and some engineering among others.

See the full list of industries and how much deduction you can claim here:

from the table at this link [https://www.gov.uk/guidance/job-expenses-for-uniforms-work-clothing-and-tools].

If your industry isn’t listed, you can claim a deduction of £60.

Step 2: Check if your employer pays anything towards your expenses -- if they do, you have to deduct this from the total expense you are claiming.

Step 3: Put in your claim

You can check if you can claim online here [https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/claim-tax-relief-expenses/who-claiming-for?_ga=2.2964144.1838091321.1622122893-266024785.1617311042]

You can also claim by post using this form [https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-income-tax-relief-for-your-employment-expenses-p87#claim-by-post]

If you have claimed in the past, you can claim by phone [https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/income-tax-enquiries-for-individuals-pensioners-and-employees]