FREE uniform tax refund
Reclaim £100s from up to five years of expenses
If you wear a uniform at work – maybe you're not one of the millions working from home – and have to wash, repair or replace it yourself, you may be able to reclaim £100s of tax for up to five years of expenses. You can reclaim whether it's just a branded T-shirt or if you're a fully uniformed pilot, police officer or nurse. Don't pay a claims firm, as you can do it yourself for FREE.
This guide isn't for personal protective equipment (PPE)
Since the onset of the pandemic, many more jobs, particularly in hospitality, have started requiring staff to use PPE – for example, face masks, visors and gloves. If your job does require you to use PPE, your employer should give you PPE free of charge, OR ask you to buy it and pay you back the costs. It's not possible for you as an employee to claim any additional tax relief on this PPE.
Am I eligible for a tax rebate?
To be able to claim tax relief, ALL of the following must apply:
- You wear a recognisable uniform that shows you've got a certain job, such as a branded T-shirt, nurse or police uniform. HMRC says a simple test would be if you were out and about and wearing your work uniform, a member of the public would recognise your employer because of logos or a company name from your uniform. That said, we've heard reports that even plain clothes, without a logo, which you only wear for work may count – so it's worth a try.
- Your employer requires you to wear it while you're working. This means you have no other option but to buy it.
- You have to purchase, clean, repair or replace it yourself. However, you can't claim if your employer washes your kit, provides facilities to do so (even if you don't use them) or pays you for doing this maintenance.
- You paid income tax in the year you are claiming for. Since this is a perk to reduce your tax liability, you can't claim if you paid no tax in the year you're claiming for.
Who can't claim via the rebate?
One group that shouldn't need to go through the process are those in the armed forces. The cost of maintaining their uniforms should be dealt with via their tax code, with their tax-free personal allowance raised to compensate.
And if you're self-employed, instead of claiming via the rebate, you should claim uniform and laundry expenses when filling in your self-assessment tax return.
Only had to wear uniform for part of the year? You can still claim a full year's relief
Tax relief for cleaning a uniform is a flat rate, so as long as you were required to wear the uniform at any point in the year – even one day – you are entitled to get the full year's tax relief.
How much can I get?
The standard flat-rate expense allowance for uniform maintenance is £60. By claiming a uniform tax refund, you'll get back the amount of tax you would otherwise have paid on that £60. So if you're a basic-rate taxpayer, you'll get 20% of £60 as a rebate – which is £12. Higher-rate taxpayers will get back £24.
Since the £60 is a flat rate, you don't need to record and report the individual amounts you actually spend.
In addition to the current year's allowance, you can backdate your claim by up to four tax years too (currently 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21) – so five years in total. If you were a basic-rate taxpayer who wore a uniform in each of those tax years, you could claim:
- 2021/22 – £12
- 2020/21 – £12
- 2019/20 – £12
- 2018/19 – £12
- 2017/18 – £12
In all, a successful claim backdated all the way to 2017/18 would be worth £60 to a basic-rate taxpayer.
Depending on your industry, you could get more
Some occupations have more specific limits, such as ambulance staff, often to do with specialist uniforms, with a maximum annual allowance of £185. Basic-rate taxpayers would get back £37 tax on that for each year they claim (higher rate £74). In addition to their standard allowance (£125), nurses and midwives can also claim for shoes, socks and tights.
Here are some other examples (all are annual allowances):
- Firefighters and fire officers' allowance is £80 (basic-rate taxpayers can get £16, higher rate £32).
- Dental nurses and healthcare assistants' allowance is £125 (basic-rate taxpayers can get £25, higher rate £50).
- Pilots and co-pilots' allowance is £1,022 (basic-rate taxpayers can get £204, higher rate £408.80).
- Mechanics' allowance is £120 (basic-rate taxpayers can get £24, higher rate £48).
The only way you can get more than the standard payment is to prove that your annual uniform laundry bill is higher. For any claim (see below for a how-to) you'll need to keep receipts, and fill in a 'P87' form and send it off.
How and when will I get the money?
- For the current tax year, your tax code will change, so you'll be taxed less in future and see a slight increase in your take-home pay. HMRC says it usually takes two days to get a new tax code. But when you'll see a difference to your actual pay depends on whether your employer gets it in time to meet the cut-off date for its payroll. For example, if you get paid on the 25th of each month and your employer gets your new tax code on the 10th, it's likely to be applied that month, but if it only receives it on the 23rd, you'll probably have to wait for another month.
- If your claim is for previous tax years, HMRC will either make adjustments through your tax code or give you a tax refund. Once your claim has been received and processed by HMRC, you'll be sent a letter telling you how much you're entitled to, and details on when the money will be paid.
I just wanted to thank Martin. I applied for a uniform tax refund for the last three years and I've just received £180.
Woohoo! Finally got around to doing this, I've been in a uniformed role for five years. Now, got a very tasty £250 back...
How do I make a claim?
It depends whether this is your first time claiming this tax back or not:
- If this is your first time claiming a tax allowance, or the amount you paid out was more than £1,000, you'll need to fill in a form and make your claim online or by post. See details below.
- Once you've registered, and if your claim is for the current tax year, your tax code will change, so you'll be taxed less in future and see a slight increase in your take-home pay. If your claim is for previous tax years, HMRC will either make adjustments through your tax code or give you a tax refund.
IMPORTANT – do it yourself for FREE. We've heard reports of claims handlers offering to do this for you, particularly on Facebook, then taking a cut. That's unnecessary in our view. You can do this by yourself for FREE.
Claiming for the first time?
You can apply online or by post. Simply fill in the P87 form online or print it out and send to Pay As You Earn, HM Revenue & Customs, BX9 1AS. Write 'Repayment Claim' on the envelope to speed things up. If applying by post, you'll need to fill in one form for each year you're claiming for.
If you need the form in an alternative format, contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on 0300 200 3310.
You'll be asked for information on:
- Employer's name and address
- Your occupation, job title and industry sector
- Your details, including your national insurance number and your pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) reference
- Whether you're claiming flat-rate expenses (usually you will be, if not, you'll need detailed records of costs). See flat-rate expenses allowed for different occupations
- How you want to be paid – into your bank account or by cheque
The form is a catch-all, so asks about other expenses you may be claiming, for instance, a company car. If you don't get any of these, just click 'No' on each page of the form that doesn't apply.
Usually, if you've submitted a reclaim, your tax code will be adjusted in future years to take account of your costs, so you won't need to reclaim again.
However, if this doesn't happen, and if you've claimed before and had expenses of less than £1,000, you can do the reclaim over the phone (for bigger claims, you'll need to use the form again). Call 0300 200 3310, 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, or 8am to 4pm on Saturday.
If, as part of its normal tax admin, HMRC sends you a P810 'Tax Review' form – to check your tax code is correct – you can also fill this in to claim tax relief. For expenses over £1,000, or if you changed jobs midway through a tax year, you'll need to fill in additional forms.
Anything else worth knowing?
You can't claim for the initial cost of the clothes.
There are other tax-deductible expenses you may be able to claim, such as the cost of professional fees, specialist tools or travel for your job. See more on the other allowances on the HMRC website.
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