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Complete Guide to Uniform Tax Rebate

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Apr 03, 2024
8 minutes read

A lot of people lose out on money they can claim back simply because they didn’t know they are eligible to do so.

Find out everything you need to know about the uniform tax rebate.

Female nurse assisting an elderly patient on a walking frame

What Is Uniform Tax Rebate?

Uniform tax is if your work requires you to wear a uniform or protective clothing and you have to wash or repair it yourself, then you may be due a tax refund from HMRC.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for a uniform tax rebate, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You wear a uniform that signifies your occupation, such as a branded T-shirt, a nurse’s uniform, or a police uniform.

  • According to HMRC, a simple way to know is to be out in your work uniform and a member of the public recognises your employer from either the logo or business name on your uniform.

  • It’s a requirement to wear your uniform on the job.

  • It is your responsibility to buy, clean, fix, or upgrade your uniform.

    Please note you cannot claim if your employer washes your equipment or offers facilities to clean them (even if you don’t use it), or pays you to.

  • You paid income tax in the year you are claiming for.

    You cannot claim this benefit if you didn’t pay any taxes in the year you’re claiming as this is a benefit to help minimise your tax liability.

Who Cannot Claim Uniform Tax?

Unfortunately, uniform tax rebates doesn't apply to those with personal protective equipment (PPE) at work.

If PPE is required such as safety helmets, goggles, or high-vis workwear, the responsibility is on the employer to pay for it.

If you are paying for it then it's your employer's responsibility to reimburse you for the total cost. You cannot claim uniform tax rebate on this protective clothing.

Those who are self-employed also cannot claim the uniform tax rebate as it only applies to those under the PAYE tax return system. However, they can still get tax refunds as both uniforms and PPE are considered an allowable business expense. So when it comes time to do a Self Assessment tax return, they can be included as an essential business cost to help bring your total tax bill down.

Also, those in the armed forces will be unable to claim tax relief on uniform maintenance. These costs will be accounted for in the service member's tax code, which is then increased accordingly to reimburse them.

How Much Can I Claim Back?

HMRC estimates that it costs £60 a year to maintain people's uniforms in most lines of work. This is called a standard flat-rate allowance, and you are eligible for a uniform tax rebate on that £60.

How much you receive will depend on which tax band you are in.

  • Basic rate taxpayers who pay 20% in taxes are entitled to a tax rebate of £12 (20% of £60)

  • Higher rate taxpayers who pay 40% in taxes are entitled to a tax rebate of £24 (40% of £60).

This figure is applicable to most industries, however, there are particular occupations in specific sectors that are eligible for a much higher tax relief.

People in the police force have a maximum uniform tax allowance of up to £140 each year.

Basic rate taxpayers can claim back £28 each tax year, and higher rate taxpayers can claim back £56.

Nurses have an allowance of £125 along with midwives, meaning basic rate taxpayers can claim back £25, higher rate £50, and they can also claim tax relief on costs for replacing shoes, underwear, and socks.

Some other examples include:

  • Pilots and co-pilots get an annual allowance of £1,022 (basic rate taxpayers can claim £204, higher rate taxpayers can claim £408)

  • Ambulance staff get an annual allowance of £185 (basic rate taxpayers can claim £37, higher rate taxpayers can claim £74)

If you find that you're paying much more than the average person would and the estimation is off, you can get a tax rebate on the actual amount you've spent. However, this is a much more complicated process than if you went with the standard flat rate.

In order to claim your actual costs, you would have to have receipts and

proof of purchase in each tax year.

This might be simple to do if you only wash your uniforms at a laundrette but keeping receipts is required to prove your costs.

Can I Claim Uniform Tax Rebate for Previous Years?

Yes, HMRC says that you can claim back money for up to four years.

Currently, you can claim as far as 2020/2021 until the 5th of April; so in fact, you can claim up to five years if you include the current year.

It's best to take advantage of this and claim back the full five years as it will all add up.

Basic rate taxpayers can claim a total of £60 for all four years and £120 for higher rate taxpayers.

Year Basic / Higher Rate Taxpayer

Year Basic Higher Rate

So if you do claim for the current and previous four years it can result in a significant reimbursement from HMRC.

How Do I Claim?

A uniform tax claim is done using the P87 form. If it’s the first time making a claim and your costs are less than £1,000, you can do claim online on the government website. But, if you're making a claim for multiple years, you will have to print out a form for each tax year and send it by post.

If you have made a previous claim, your tax code is adjusted to reflect the tax rebate.

If your tax code hasn't changed, you can then call HMRC phone lines to reclaim it. However, for claims above £1,000, you will have to do it via the P87 form and send it by post.

How Long Does It Take To Receive?

The way uniform tax rebate works is that your tax code will adjust for the current tax year, which means you will be taxed less going forward and will see a small boost in your take-home pay.

A new tax code normally takes two days, according to HMRC.

When you see a difference in your pay will depend on whether the employer receives it before the cut-off date for payroll.

HMRC will either make changes to your tax code or give you a tax refund if your claim is for previous tax years.

You will receive a letter from HMRC after your uniform tax rebate has been processed, detailing how much you’re entitled to and when you will receive payment.

HMRC normally responds to uniform claims within 8-10 weeks.


So there you are. By now you should have a better idea of whether you’re eligible to claim a uniform tax rebate.

Remember, if your uniform identifies you as working for a specific company or role, you’re responsible for cleaning it and you paid tax in that year, you will be eligible for a uniform tax rebate.

You could be looking at over a hundred pounds in tax refunds, depending on which industry you work in, which tax band you are in, and how many years you're claiming for.

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