Tax Rebate for Uniform Wearers
Released on - 15/12/2011
Employees who wear a uniform – who wash, repair or replace it may be able to reclaim tax of £12 to £56 PER YEAR.You can claim back a rebate for up to the past six years - plus the current year - and once you're registered it applies for the future too.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. Ordinary clothes, even only worn for work, don't count.
- Your employer requires you to wear it while you're working.
- You have to pay to 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.
The amount you're able to claim tax relief on depends totally on your industry. The standard allowance for spending on uniform maintenance is £60 (for 2011/12) – so basic rate taxpayers would be able to claim £12 back (20% of £60) and higher rate payers £24 (40% of £60). The £60 is a flat rate, so you don't need to record and report all the individual amounts you spend.
Most people can claim for the past FOUR years, if you've been wearing the uniform all that time – though before April 2008 the flat rate was £45 per year. A basic rate taxpayer, claiming the max. possible for the last six years (and this one), could reclaim £75 in total.
Some occupations have more specific limits, often to do with specialist uniforms, with the maximum allowance of £140. A higher rate taxpayer would get back £56 tax on that.
The rates for healthcare staff in NHS or independent hospitals are £70 pa from 2004 – 2008 and £100 pa from 2008/9 onwards.
The only way you can get more than the standard payment is to prove that your annual uniform laundry bill is higher. Speak to the tax office if you want to do this as it's a little more complicated.
Laundering of theatre attire
The home laundering of theatre attire is not recommended by AfPP. The rationale for laundering in an approved hospital facility is to prevent soiled clothing from spreading contaminants into the home environment and to ensure that the laundering of clothing is in accordance with relevant standards (DH 1995, AfPP 2011). Footwear worn in theatres should be for that use only and should be cleaned regularly (using appropriate PPE) to remove any contaminants. It is each individual health worker’s responsibility to ensure their footwear is decontaminated.
How do I do it?
If this is your first time claiming a tax allowance or the amount you paid out was more than £1,000, then you'll need to claim the money back by post.
By letter: Send a letter to the tax office on your payslip/P60, or to the generic address HM Revenue & Customs, Pay As You Earn, PO Box 1970, Liverpool, L75 1WX. Write 'Repayment Claim' on the envelope to speed things up.
The letter should include and mention the following (where applicable):
- Employer's name and address and dates of employment for the past six years
- Your occupation, job title and industry sector
- Details of any laundry or cleaning services provided by your employer, if any
- Details of payment or vouchers provided by your employer to cover laundry or other costs, if any
- Why your uniform can't be worn outside of work (eg, it includes the company logo)
- Whether you want the rebate to be deducted from the current year's or you would like a cheque
You will then be sent a letter telling you how much you're entitled to. It could take around 5 weeks to process your claim.
By phone: If you've claimed before and had expenses of less than £1,000, you can do the reclaim over the phone. Call 0845 300 0627 (or 0135 535 9022) 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 out additional forms.
Anything else worth knowing?
You can't claim for the initial cost of buying 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. For instance, practitioners also get a £12 allowance for shoes, £6 for tights and tax relief on professional subscriptions such as AfPP membership.