Do you wear a uniform to work? If so, and you’re responsible for washing, repairing or replacing it, you may be able to claim back tax on those expenses.
Claim tax back for your uniform
However, whether or not you are eligible for this tax relief will depend upon the nature of the clothing in question and the type of expense you are claiming. For example, the initial costs of purchasing the uniform in the first place are not eligible for tax relief.
Criteria for eligibility
In order for your situation to qualify for tax relief, all four of the following criteria must apply:
- The garments in question must constitute a recognisable uniform, such as that worn by a nurse, chef or police officer. It’s not enough that they are clothes you only wear while at work – they must take the form of attire that you could not feasibly wear in your everyday apparel. Any garments with a branded or embroidered logo will immediately qualify.
- The garment must be worn during working hours, as stipulated by your employer.
- The responsibility for cleaning, repairing or replacing the garment falls to you. You will not be eligible to claim if the company washes the uniforms themselves or provides the facilities for you to do so, even if you do not make use of them. If you are reimbursed for maintaining your workwear, you will also not be eligible.
- You must have paid income tax in the year for which you are submitting the claim.
It should be noted that those working in the police force may find that their unit already claims these expenses on their behalf, but this varies on a case-by-case basis. As such, it’s prudent to check the situation at your department before submitting any claims. Meanwhile, those working in the armed forces do not need to bother, since their tax code will automatically factor the relief into their personal allowance calculations.
How much relief could you receive?
The flat-rate figure calculated by the government for uniform maintenance is £60 per annum. If you pay tax at the basic rate of 20%, you’ll be able to claim 20% of £60, which works out to £12. However, if you qualify for the higher rate of tax (at 40%), you’ll be able to claim £24 each year. You can do this up to a maximum of four years in the past – plus the current tax year – meaning those who have never submitted a claim before, but have worn and maintained uniforms for the last four years, can claim a maximum of £60 (or £120 for higher-tax payers) under the flat-rate allowance.
However, £60 is a fairly conservative estimate of how much you might spend to maintain your workwear. If you can prove that your laundry, maintenance or garment replacement bill exceeds this figure, you could claim more back – up to 20% of the total amount for each of the four years preceding the current tax year, as well as this one. Cumulatively, that could add up to hundreds of pounds of tax relief.
How to submit a claim for uniform maintenance tax relief
For those submitting a claim for the first time – or for anyone submitting a claim in which they paid more than £1,000 over the course of a single year – the claim must be made either online or via post.
The easiest way to do this is to visit the HMRC website and locate the P87 form. You can then either download it and print it off or fill it out online, before sending it back to the taxman. It’s necessary to fill out a separate form for each individual year you’re making a claim on. If you plan to file the claim by post, you’ll need to send it to the following address:
Pay As You Earn
The form will ask you to fill out the details of your name, national insurance number and PAYE reference, as well as your employer’s name and address, your occupation, job description and the industry you work in. You’ll also need to indicate whether you wish to claim for flat-rate expenses (so a maximum of £12 per year for basic-rate tax payers and £24 per year for higher-rate ones) or not. If you wish to file a higher claim, you will need to supply detailed evidence of those expenses, such as individual receipts for each transaction. Finally, you’ll also need to stipulate how you would like to receive the relief – whether by cheque or directly into your bank account.
The P87 form applies to all expenses, so you can also claim for other overheads related to your job (such as any equipment or tools you are required to repair or replace by your employer) at the same time.