Uniform Tax Explained

If you wear a uniform at work, and have to wash, repair or replace it yourself, you may be able to claim for up to five years of expenses through your tax.

Who is eligible for a rebate?

In order to claim tax relief, all of the following have to apply:

·   You wear a recognisable uniform that shows you have a certain job. This includes a branded T-shirt, nurse or police uniform

·   It is compulsory to wear your uniform whilst at work as stated in your contract of employment

·   If it’s your responsibility to purchase, clean, repair or replace it yourself. Note: if your employer washes your uniform or provides the facilities to do so or pays for this service you cannot claim this relief.

·   You have to qualify by paying income tax in the year you are claiming for.

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Members of the armed forces will find they do not need to go through this process as the cost paid for the maintenance of their uniforms should be dealt with through their tax code, with their tax-free personal allowance raised to compensate.

Police forces are slightly different as some forces already claim it, but each has their own arrangement. It’s best to check what your force does. Other forces personnel may have washing facilities already available, so check the rules to see if you could claim.

What’s it worth to me?

Depending on the industry you work in will depend on how much you can claim back. Standard flat rate expense allowance (FREA) for uniform maintenance is £60 (for 2018/19), which equates to:

·   Basic-rate taxpayers can claim £12 back (20% of £60)

·   Higher-rate payers £24 (40% of £60)

The £60 figure is a flat rate, so you don\'t need to record and report the individual amounts you spend.

Most people can claim back within the past four years, so back to 2014 - plus the current year (5 years all together), only if you\'ve been wearing the uniform all that time. So a basic-rate taxpayer who is claiming the standard uniform allowance for the 5 year period 2014-2018/19, could reclaim £60 in total (5 x £12).

Once you\'ve registered, your tax code will change, so you should be taxed less in the future. Note: if your employer has paid back your expenses, you won’t be eligible to claim tax relief.

Not all jobs have the same limits. In some industries where specialist uniforms are worn they will allow an increased maximum allowance of up to £185. In this instance a higher-rate taxpayer would get back £74 tax on that for each year they claim and the basic rate £37.

There is a full list of occupations on the HMRC website which will include the rates and the exceptions in more detail.

In order to make a claim you will need to fill in Form P87 and return it to HMRC. This can be done through a self-assessment software provider if you are using one.

What to if claiming for the first time?

As mentioned above you will need to fill in the P87 form online. This can be in print if you prefer and sent to PAYE HMRC. As always the online method is quicker in both getting there and receiving a response. Note: for every year you are claiming for you will need to fill in an individual form for that year.

The following information will be required when submitting the form:

·   Employer\'s name and address

·   Your occupation, job title and industry sector

·   Your details, including your National Insurance Number and your PAYE reference

·   Whether you\'re claiming flat rate expenses (This is true in most cases, if not you\'ll need to provide detailed records of costs)

·   How you want to be paid – straight into your bank account or by cheque

The P87 form is for all expenses not just uniform so if you don\'t get any of the other expenses on the form just click or tick no as you go along. The general process time can take up to 5 weeks from receipt of claim but once processed you will receive notification of the amounts to be paid and when you are likely to receive it.