Getting tax relief for work uniforms and their upkeep offers a great way for you to get back some of your hard-earned money. Through tax rebates for related to uniforms, tools, professional fees and other work expenses, hundreds of pounds in overpaid tax can be claimed each year. But complex HMRC guidelines mean many eligible workers miss out. 

Understanding the specific rules around uniform tax relief enables workers to take full advantage of this significant, yet often overlooked opportunity. With proper knowledge about allowances, documentation, and claiming procedures, huge tax savings are there for the taking. Here’s what you need to know:

Understanding uniform tax relief

Uniform tax relief allows employees to claim tax refunds on expenses related to work clothing and uniforms. To qualify, the clothing must be specific to the employee's job and the employee must pay for cleaning, repairs, or replacement themselves. This tax relief, sometimes called a uniform benefit or allowance, can save a hefty sum each year. General business attire usually doesn't qualify, but uniforms that include your company’s logo or PPE that you need to wear to work likely does. However, if in doubt, seek professional guidance.

The actual size of your uniform tax refund depends on your profession and tax bracket. Generally, HMRC assumes uniform costs amount to £60 annually for most workers. At the basic 20% tax rate, that results in a £12 rebate (20% of £60).

But that's not the whole picture. Higher 40% rate taxpayers can get back £24 based on the £60 figure. Plus, certain industries have special allowances exceeding £60. Jobs like firefighting, healthcare, construction and more have higher uniform costs recognised by HMRC.

It's key to note the government's estimates may not match your real spending. If your uniform costs are over that £60, you'll need proof (such as receipts) to reclaim all taxes owed. Don't leave money on the table by missing out on your full entitlement.

HMRC uniform tax rebate: a complete guide

The process of claiming uniform tax relief is straightforward. First, keep careful track of all allowable expenses related to work uniforms. This includes purchases, cleaning bills, repairs and replacements.

Next, total up the expenses at the end of the tax year, which runs from April 6 to April 5. HMRC provides a P87 form to submit uniform tax refund claims. This form requires basic contact details, employer information, the relevant tax year, and the total amount spent on work uniforms.

For standard claims based on HMRC's allowances, no receipts are needed. But if you need to claim above these thresholds you must provide proof of expenses. HMRC will verify claims and issue rebates, usually within 8-10 weeks. This is paid by bank transfer or cheque, depending on your choice.

It's possible to claim uniform expenses up to 4 years in arrears. So even if you failed to claim in previous years, you can still get what’s owed. Self-employed individuals can also get uniform tax relief through the self-assessment tax return system.

How to claim tax relief for washing uniforms

For employees who pay to have work uniforms cleaned, tax relief is available. You’ve just got to follow these steps: 

  • Maintain records of all laundry expenses for work uniforms throughout the tax year. Keep any receipts.
  • Total up the amount spent. Compare this to HMRC's washing allowance, which is typically around £100 per year.
  • Download your P87 form from HMRC, and complete all required employee and employer details. Enter the total amount spent on washing uniforms for the tax year.
  • Submit the completed P87 form after the end of the tax year. April to early May is ideal. HMRC does not require receipts for claims up to £150.
  • If total laundry expenses exceed £150, include copies of receipts with the claim form. This proves higher spending for maximum tax relief.
  • HMRC will process uniform washing claims within 8-10 weeks. Successful claims result in a tax refund paid directly into the employee's bank account.

Follow these steps each year to get back all tax overpaid on uniform washing costs.

Common questions about inform tax relief

What counts as a uniform?

Regular clothes you wear to work don’t really count, but uniforms that include your company’s logo or PPE that you need to wear to work likely does. When in doubt, consult a pro.

Do I need receipts?

For claims up to HMRC's flat rate allowances, no. But receipts are required to prove expenses above standard thresholds.

Can I claim for previous years?

Yes, you can claim relief for up to 4 previous tax years.

What if my employer reimburses me?

Then you can't claim tax relief. It must be paid from your own pocket.

Who can claim tax back on uniform?

A wide range of professions are eligible for uniform tax relief. Here are some common examples:

  • Chefs - Uniforms, aprons, knives, appliances
  • Hairdressers - Tunics, aprons, scissors, clippers
  • Mechanics - Overalls, safety gear, tools
  • Police officers - Uniform cleaning and repair
  • Security - Uniforms, protective gear, licensing
  • Airline crew - Uniforms, sunglasses, luggage
  • Healthcare - Scrubs, registration fees, licences
  • Lorry drivers - Branded uniforms, safety clothing
  • Hospitality - Uniforms, gambling licensing

RIFT Refunds has the answers

It’s important to make sure you are claiming the right amount for your trade, as you want to avoid underclaiming. Also, if you’re spending more than the flat rate on specialist clothing and equipment, HMRC will definitely need to see receipts - Ryan Carman, head of operations at RIFT Refunds 

Claiming tax relief on uniforms, tools, memberships and other work expenses can be confusing. But the financial payoff makes it worthwhile. Don't miss out on the cash refunds you deserve from years of overlooked tax relief.

When you claim your tax rebate with RIFT, our unique RIFT Guarantee means that you don't have to worry about the taxman reclaiming any of your money. So long as you give us full and accurate information, if HMRC disagrees with the amount that we’ve claimed and ask for the money back, we’ll pay it. It won’t cost you a penny.

Don't leave tax money unclaimed that is rightfully yours. Find out how much you could be owed using our tax rebate calculator, and get in touch with the pros at RIFT to start your tax relief claim today.

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Uniform tax refunds

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