Uniform Tax Rebate
If you wear a uniform to work, there’s a good chance that you’ll be eligible to claim a tax rebate for cleaning, maintaining and repairing it. In fact, the UK’s Uniform Tax Rebate scheme is applicable to an estimated 43% of the entire British workforce, while statistics show that two in three workers who wear a uniform during business hours are eligible to make a claim. Does this sound like you? Read on to find out how you could claim hundreds of pounds back you weren’t even aware of.
It should be noted that the tax rebate does not apply to the initial purchase of the uniform – even if your employer required you to buy it out of your own funds – but only to its maintenance and replacement. This includes laundry bills (whether at home or by using a professional laundering service) and the costs of any items which must be replaced. To qualify for the rebate, you must fulfil all of the following four criteria:
- Wear a discernible uniform that would be not suitable for everyday use. For example, a shirt, blouse or other item of clothing branded with the company logo, or a firefighter’s, policeman’s or nurse’s uniform.
- Be required to wear it all times during working hours as part of your contract with your employer.
- Be responsible for washing, repairing and replacing the kit yourself. However, your eligibility will be waived if your employer provides facilities for you to carry out the above (even if you do not make any use of them) or already reimburses you for doing so.
- Have paid tax in the year for which you are making the claim.
If all of these criteria apply to you, you are eligible to claim back expenses for the previous four years of employment. Including the current tax year, this means that there are a total of five years which you could claim back for at one time. However, you should remember that each year will require the submission of a separate claim form.
Calculating your uniform tax rebate
The exact amount of tax relief you can claim on uniform cleaning, maintenance and replacement will depend on the industry you work in. However, standard flat rate allowance designated by HMRC is £60 per year, of which you will be able to claim 20% (or 40% if you’re a higher-bracket taxpayer). This means that you could claim £12 back per year (or £24 for higher earners). Given that you can claim for a maximum of five years at once (four backdated plus the current one), you could claim £60 (or £120 for higher earners) at one time.
However, anyone who has ever laundered, repaired or replaced their own work clothes will know that £60 per year is a very low estimate of the expense that such an endeavour entails. Therefore, if you are able to show proof that you have spent higher sums on your uniform, through the provision of individual receipts for each transaction, you could theoretically claim much higher amounts. Remember, you’re eligible for 20% (or 40% for higher earners) of whatever outlay you can prove you have spent on the uniform.
In order to get an idea of how much you might be eligible to claim, there are certain resources available to you in order to estimate your rebate. For example, the website Uniform Tax Rebate offer a uniform tax calculator, which can give you an approximation of the relief you can expect to receive based upon your industry, employer and job title. According to the site, the average sum claimed by an employee is £112, but they have handled claims of over £15,000 in the past. As such, there could be a considerable amount of tax relief coming your way.
How to Submit a Claim:
There are two ways in which you can submit your claim for a uniform tax rebate. The first is through a mediator like Uniform Tax Rebate, who will handle all of the paperwork for you, process your claim and deduct a fee for their services. This is the easiest and quickest way of doing so, but it may result in your rebate being significantly reduced due to the fees commanded by the company in question.
Alternatively, you can submit the claim yourself by locating the P87 form on the HMRC website. You can then either fill it out and return it online, or print it off and send it via the post. In order to fill it out, you’ll need your name, national insurance number and PAYE reference, as well as details of your job, employer and the address of your workplace. If submitting a claim higher than the flat rate of £60 per annum, you’ll need to provide supporting evidence to show the exact amounts you spent. HMRC should process the claim within four to 12 weeks and hey presto! You’ll have your uniform tax rebate returned to you.