Getting a uniform tax rebate
Published 29 February 2016
You may be able to claim back tax if you wear a uniform at work and have to maintain it yourself.
Does your work wardrobe consist of a uniform? If so, and you’re required wash and repair it yourself, you could be due a tax rebate on these expenses.
Whether your uniform consists of a branded T-shirt or a full outfit you could have an eligible claim for up to five years of expenses. Here, we take you through who is eligible for a tax rebate and how you can make a claim.
Who is eligible?
No matter whether you’re a sales assistant, a childminder or a police officer walking the beat, as long as you wear a recognisable uniform that displays you’re in a specific job then you could be eligible to make a claim.
You don’t necessarily have to have a logo on the uniform, you may be able to claim for even plain clothes that you wear only for work. One of the requirements is that the responsibility of buying, washing, repairing or replacing the uniform is entirely up to you. If your employer washes your uniform or provides the facilities for you to do so then you won’t be eligible to claim. You’ll need to have paid income tax in the year that you’re claiming for as well.
There are some exceptions though, for example if you’re an officer in the armed forces you shouldn’t have to go through this process. The cost of the maintenance for your uniform should be factored into your tax code and your tax-free personal allowance raised to compensate this. For those in the police force, some forces already claim the tax back for their employees, so you’d need to check the individual arrangements for your place of work.
How much could I get?
The amount of tax that you could claim back will depend on the industry that you work in. The standard flat-rate expense allowance (FREA) for uniform maintenance is £60 (for the tax year 2015/2016). Basic-rate taxpayers can claim £12 back (20% tax rate) while higher-rate taxpayers should be able to claim £24 (40% tax rate). If your uniform has more specific requirements, then you will often get a higher allowance – the maximum is £140.
You can claim for the last four years plus the current year, as long as you’ve been wearing the uniform for this length of time. Once you claim, your tax code will change so that you’ll pay less tax in the future.
Making a claim
If you’re claiming a tax allowance for the first time or you paid out more than £1,000, you’ll need to claim by post. There are a number of websites that offer to do this for you, but as most charge a fee, you can avoid this by doing it yourself for free.
To claim by post, you’ll have to fill in the P87 form (which you can do online) and send it to Pay as You Earn. You’ll need to fill in one form for each year that you are claiming for. Once your claim has been received and processed by HMRC, you’ll receive a letter telling you much you’re entitled to and when the money will be paid.
As we’ve mentioned, once you submit a reclaim your tax code should be adjusted to take future costs into account, so you shouldn’t need to reclaim again if you’ve done so before. However, if this doesn’t happen automatically and you’ve claimed on expenses of less than £1,000 before, then you should be able to put your claim in over the phone. You can call the HMRC helpline on 0300 200 3300.