The general rule of thumb is that you cannot claim for the cost of clothing that is “ordinary clothing worn by a trader during the course of their trade”. For example you cannot claim for business suits or smart office attire. Although these items are the general standard most companies require, they have an “intrinsic duality of purpose”. This means clothing can be used for work and non-work purposes.
Tax relief is available for certain types of clothing. These include:
- Items of clothing with the company logo.
- Safety wears such as boots, gloves, overalls and helmets that you cannot do your job without.
- This is also extended to tools you have to buy/repair yourself in order to continue working.
The reason for this is that there is no real opportunity for you to wear these clothes in a casual setting, outside of work. This is then considered the sole use of the items involved and therefore a business expense. The tax relief also covers the cost of cleaning, repairing and replacing the items concerned.
The amount of tax relief you will receive depends on the nature of your work. You can either claim tax relief on the full amount that you have spent over the year (you would therefore need to collect all receipts that relate to purchases or up keep/cleaning of your work clothes). Another option is to claim a flat rate relief. You will receive a “flat rate deduction” that is decided by HMRC which varies from trade to trade. For example a carpenter may receive up to £140 per tax year due to the fact their clothes/uniform will have more wear and tear than say a security guard who could potentially claim up to £60 in tax deductions per year in order to purely cover the laundry/repair costs.
The process of claiming tax relief depends on whether you are self -employed or you are an employee. It is fairly straight forward.
Employees – Employees on PAYE can request a P87 form (for claims under £1000) from HMRC. Tax relief is given will be given through adjusting your tax code (not a direct refund) to allow for the expense. You cannot claim tax relief on your clothing where your employer reimburses you for this expense..
Self Employed – As a self- employed person you can claim tax relief on when filling out your self assessment tax return. But the best way would always be to use a good accountant as they have a much better insight as to what and how much can be claimed.
Written by Becky Drummer-Jones