Did you know that you can claim tax relief on the cost of washing and maintaining your work uniform?
You can claim tax relief on flat-rate expenses if someone employs you and you:
Clean your work uniform, and your employer does not clean it, or they pay you to clean it
Spend your own money on repairing or replacing equipment you need to do your job
If your employer pays all your expenses, you cannot claim any tax relief.
Flat rate expenses allow you to claim tax relief for a standard amount (a ‘flat rate’) each tax year.
The amount you can claim depends on your job and the industry you work in.
If you make a flat-rate expenses claim, you do not need to record what you have spent or any receipts.
Tax relief reduces the amount of tax you have to pay.
The amount of tax relief you get will not be the same as the number of expenses you have claimed. You’ll get tax relief based on the rate you pay tax.
For example, if you can claim £60 and pay tax at a rate of 20% in that year, you’ll get tax relief of £12.
What is classified as a uniform?
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 anything with a company logo applied to the clothing, such as a supermarket or fast food worker.
A uniform is not the clothing of a similar design or colour that you must wear for work (for example, a company who want all their staff to wear clothing in the same colour as the company branding, it's only for a uniform that has been supplied to you, by your employer.
You can claim tax relief if you wash the uniform given to you by your employer unless your employer provides a laundering service and you choose not to use it and wash your uniform yourself.
Only nurses and midwives can claim for replacing shoes, socks and underwear.
You cannot claim tax relief for everyday clothing, even if you wear it for work.
How much can I claim?
The amount you can claim varies depending on your job role. The HMRC have published a list of jobs and the amount the worker can claim back, and you can view this list on the HMRC website HERE.
The standard flat-rate expense allowance for uniform maintenance is £60. By claiming a uniform tax refund, you'll get back the amount of tax you would otherwise have paid on that £60. So if you're a basic-rate taxpayer, you'll get 20% of £60 as a rebate – which is £12. Higher-rate taxpayers will get back £24.
Since £60 is a flat rate, you don't need to record and report the individual amounts you spend.
In addition to the current year's allowance, you can backdate your claim by up to four tax years too (currently 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21) – so five years in total. If you were a basic-rate taxpayer who wore a uniform in each of those tax years, you could claim:
2021/22 – £12
2020/21 – £12
2019/20 – £12
2018/19 – £12
2017/18 – £12
In all, a successful claim backdated to 2017/18 would be worth £60 to a basic-rate taxpayer.
How do I claim, and how am I paid?
If claiming for the current tax year, you make a claim online, and the HMRC will change your tax code, advise your employer. You will then find that your salary will increase slightly to factor in the tax relief. If you claim for previous years' relief, you will be sent a refund directly from the HMRC.
In regards to making your claim, it depends whether this is your first time claiming this tax back or not:
If this is your first time claiming a tax allowance, or the amount you paid out was more than £1,000, you'll need to fill in a form and make your claim online or by post. If you have made a claim previously, you can give the HMRC a call, and they may be able to take care of it over the telephone.
You can apply online or by post. Fill in a P87 form online, HERE or print it out and send it to Pay As You Earn, HM Revenue & Customs, BX9 1AS. Ensure you write 'Repayment Claim' on the envelope. If applying by post, you'll need to fill in one form for each year you're claiming for.
You'll need to know the following information to make your claim:
Your employer's name and address
Your occupation, job title and industry sector you work within
Your details, including your NI number and your pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) reference
Whether you're claiming flat-rate expenses (usually you will be, if not, you'll need detailed records of costs), see flat-rate expenses allowed for different occupations.
How you want to be paid – into your bank account or by cheque
Once your claim has been received and processed by HMRC, you'll be sent a letter telling you how much you're entitled to, and details on when the money will be paid/or a letter will be sent to your employer to let them know of the tax code change, if applicable.
It's not a massive amount of money, but it's money that you can legitimately claim for, and so it makes sense to get what;'s owing to you; after all, the HMRC will ensure they get every penny from you, they possibly can! 👀