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Claiming tax relief for uniforms, work clothing and tools

POSTED BY: Luke Rudman

02 February 18

Employees who use their own uniforms, work clothing and tools for work can sometimes claim tax relief for the associated costs. It is possible to claim for the cost of repairing or replacing small tools you need to do your job as an employee (for example, scissors or an electric drill), or cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a uniform or safety boots). However, an employee cannot claim relief on the initial cost of buying small tools or clothing for work.

If the employee needs to buy other equipment to use as part of their employment, they may be able to claim capital allowances instead. Any tax relief would be reduced if the employer provides a contribution towards buying the item.

A claim for valid purchases can be made against receipts or as a ‘‘flat rate deduction’. The flat rate deductions are set amounts that HMRC has agreed are typically spent each year by employees in different occupations. They range from £60 to £140 depending on listed occupations. If your occupation isn’t listed, you may still be able to claim a standard annual amount of £60 in tax relief.

Planning note

The £60 allowance means that basic rate taxpayers can claim back £12 (20% x £60) and higher rate taxpayers £24 (40% x £60) per year and claims can usually be backdated for up to 4 years. If you work in one of the listed occupations, you could claim back even more. There is no requirement to keep records if you are claiming a flat rate deduction.

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