For many people who are required to wear a work uniform or specialised work clothing that must be laundered at their expense, there may be the opportunity to claim tax relief. Such tax relief is not applied automatically and must be claimed by the employee.

What is uniform tax relief?

Uniform tax relief was introduced by the government to cover the costs that employees incur in maintaining and cleaning work clothing that they may be required to wear to carry out their employer’s duties.

The relief covers the cost of repairing, cleaning or replacing the clothing, along with the repair or replacement of any small tools such as scissors or drills that may be required to complete the job.

The initial purchase costs of the items do not qualify for relief.

Many employees and businesses are simply not aware that this tax relief is available to them and are missing out on claims that could be made.  Those working in retail, hospitality, catering, medical professions, airline and transport staff, engineers, mechanics, builders and plumbers could all potentially qualify for this relief.

What type of items qualify under uniform tax relief?

There are three primary conditions that you must meet in order to make a claim.  Firstly, your clothing must qualify as specialist work or protective clothing; examples of this include overalls, goggles, uniforms, gloves and hats.  Even simple, branded clothing such as T-shirts or jackets may qualify, depending on the circumstances.  Secondly, you must be required to wear the clothing by your employer while you are working.  Finally, you must have paid income tax for the year that you are claiming for.    There are some organisations, such as the armed or police forces, who may have already claimed at source or provide on-site washing facilities.

How much could you claim?

The amount that you are able to claim will depend on your industry and role but will generally vary between £60 – £140 if you are claiming under the flat rate allowance.  A full table of flat rates by role and industry is available here.  Even at the lowest flat rate expense allowance of £60, it is still worthwhile making a claim.  In this instance, a standard rate tax payer will be able to claim back £12 (20% pf £60) and higher rate tax payers £24 (40% of £60).

In most instances, employees can claim back for the past four years, plus the current year.  So, if you are a basic-rate tax-paying employee, claiming at the lowest flat allowance available, you would be entitled to a claim of £60.

If you think your actual claim would be higher than the flat rate allocated for your role, you can also submit claims using receipts for costs that have been incurred in this respect.

How do I make a claim for uniform tax relief?

Simply send us a few simple details about your work and clothing arrangements. We will then send you a form to complete and sign. It is easy to do and you can complete your claim in just a few minutes.
It generally takes between 4-12 weeks for HMRC to process your claim and arrange your rebate if approved.

Need to know more before you start?

If you’ve got more questions before you get started with your claim, then we are here to help and provide you with more information. Simply give our specialist team a call to know more.