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Claim Tax Relief for Job Expenses Like Laundering Uniform

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Aug 04, 2022
4 minutes read

Many jobs require us to spend money out of pocket, including transportation, meals, and electronic devices. On the other hand, some job expenses, like laundering uniforms, seem like they’re just a part of the world of work.

But did you know that you might be able to claim back uniform tax? Most people who have to wash their mandatory work uniform are eligible for uniform tax relief to cover their maintenance costs. In addition, if you are required to wear specific garments, such as a uniform, branded clothing, or safety equipment during your duties, you’re eligible to uniform tax relief.

Of course, not everyone knows they can claim uniform tax relief, so this money often goes unclaimed and unpaid. This is a real shame – you should get every penny HMRC owes you. Read ahead to learn more about how you can claim uniform tax and get a rebate.

Are you eligible to claim uniform tax?

Firefighters briefing

Who Can Claim Uniform Tax Relief?

Simply put, to be eligible to claim you must be required to wear a uniform at work.

The conditions to claim uniform tax relief include:

  • You wear a branded uniform, such as those worn by firefighters, nurses, or shop clerks
  • You wear an unbranded uniform with a detachable name badge (in some cases)
  • You’re required to pay for your own laundering costs
  • You don’t have laundry facilities in your workplace (if this is the case, and you still choose to launder your own uniform at home, you are not eligible for HMRC uniform tax refund)
  • You are not reimbursed for cleaning your own uniform
  • Nurses and midwives can claim to replace shoes, undergarments, and socks
  • You must spend your own money repairing or replacing equipment you need to work

You also must be a taxpayer in the year that you wish to claim uniform . You can check your eligibility here.

How Does HMRC Define a Uniform?

According to HMRC, 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.”

In some cases, attaching a permanent and conspicuous badge to otherwise ‘normal’ clothing is enough for it to be considered a uniform. However, HMRC considers uniform tax refunds like these on their own merits. You must be able to be readily identified as wearing a uniform by someone on the street.

Detachable badges do not make regular clothing become uniforms, so you cannot claim uniform tax relief to launder these garments.

For wait staff and door attendants, formal evening dress may be a part of the customary practice of their occupation. In these cases, formal dinner jackets and trousers may be considered a uniform, and you can claim uniform tax relief for them.

The definition of a uniform does not include clothing that is of a specified design or colour, such as a black skirt or a blue shirt. They use the example of a bank asking employers to wear shirts or blouses in a corporate colour – this is not a uniform.

If you are required to wear a uniform, your employer must pay for it or reimburse you after you buy the garments. You cannot claim uniform tax relief for the purchase of a new uniform. However, nurses and midwives can claim to replace shoes, socks, and underwear.

You can only claim uniform tax relief with the HMRC if you are required to wash the uniform your employer gives you. If your employer provides laundering services and you choose not to use them, you cannot make a tax claim.

How Much Will I Get Back From My Uniform Tax Refund?

The amount you’ll get back when you claim uniform tax relief will depend on your industry. The minimum uniform tax claim starts at £60 and goes up to £1,022 (for cabin crew and pilots).

Therefore, your uniform tax refund will be based on the rate you pay tax. If you claim tax of £100 and pay a 20% tax rate, you will get a tax relief of £20.

Some jobs require you to keep the receipts and claim your uniform relief on exactly how much you spent. Others offer a flat uniform tax rebate. Check this table to see the claim uniform tax amounts for different professions.

This could be money you’re leaving on the table – make sure you check your uniform allowance and claim tax relief.

Can I Claim Uniform Tax for PPE?

No, according to the HMRC Uniform Tax policy, if you are required to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), your employer must provide it. They must give it to you for free, or they must reimburse you for these costs.

Can I Claim Uniform Tax relief for Previous Years?

Yes, you can claim uniform tax relief for the past four years, even if you have changed your employer during this time period. If you are unsure, speak to your accountant and they can help you claim correctly.

What Uniform Costs and Expenses Can’t I Claim?

While you can claim uniform tax relief for laundering or repairing your uniform and equipment, there are many costs you cannot claim.

These costs include:

  • Buying a new uniform, which must be provided by your employer
  • Buying PPE, which must be provided by your employer
  • Laundering the everyday clothing you wear to work
  • Laundering corporate branded t-shirts given as a promotion
  • Laundering clothing in a certain colour or style required by your employer’s dress code
  • Replacing shoes and socks, unless you are nurse or midwife
  • Laundering your uniform at home if your employer provides laundering services that you choose not to use

Is The Uniform Allowance in My Tax Code?

Some people already have the uniform allowance in their tax code, which ensures that they claim automatically. If that’s the case for you, you won’t need to go through any process to claim back uniform tax.

If you’re unsure, your accountant can check your tax code, so you don’t have to go through the process.

What Other Work Expenses Can I Claim?

In addition to making your uniform tax relief claim, you might be entitled to additional tax relief for work-related expenses.

These expenses include:

  • Buying your own tools and toolboxes required to conduct your duties
  • Replacing certain tools and implements you need for work, such as a hairdresser replacing their scissors
  • Protective clothing, such as Hi-Viz jacket or vest that you need to wear at work
  • Certain membership fees to professional bodies

Travelling for work using public transport or your own private vehicle – this does not apply to your typical commute.

How to Make a Uniform Tax Claim

With rising costs, laundering uniforms is increasingly expensive. Thankfully, you don’t have to shoulder this cost on your own - you can claim uniform tax quite easily.

If you are only claiming for laundering your uniform or your protective clothing, it’s simple to claim uniform tax relief. Head to the HMRC website, and you can claim back uniform tax in minutes. You’ll usually receive your tax rebate in 8 – 12 weeks.

However, the HMRC uniform rebate becomes more complex if you are claiming other work expenses, such as mileage for a work trip or a new toolbox. Reach out to Money Back Helpdesk – we can help guide you through the process, and ensure that you claim uniform tax if you are eligible.

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