HMRC Uniform Allowance

The significant motivation behind why dressing in appropriate uniform is essential for every worker is that it introduces a visual picture and communicates something specific that the workers are proficient. The significance of a uniform for demonstrable skill fluctuates to some degree by industry.

Uniforms are a great team-building resource for your staff, and they can improve overall customer service as well as brand awareness. Whether you work in a hotel or at a restaurant, the last thing you want is a customer not knowing who to approach for help. When all employees are in uniforms, this rarely happens. This is one benefit that is often overlooked, but is arguably the most influential.

If you work at a job where you are required to wear a uniform as part of their duties and that meet the cost of laundering their uniform, are entitled to claim tax relief in respect of laundry costs. The relief is calculated by means of a flat-rate deduction and the amount depends upon the employee’s occupation. A dental nurse is entitled to claim a deduction of £100 per year and receptionists and other uniformed staff are entitled to claim £60 per year. This equates to tax relief of £20 and £12 respectively for a basic-rate taxpayer.

You may be entitled to claim a tax rebate in relation to your work uniform. There are applicable tax credits for work uniform expenses however these only apply in certain instances:

  • You supply and launder your own uniform
  • You supply your own uniform but it is laundered for free
  • You are required to launder a uniform that is supplied for you
  • If you have to buy your own shoes and clothes for work. If your employer has not given you an allowance for such purchases, and this uniform is only used for work, you can claim for a tax refund.

Courses and subscription fees

A deduction is generally allowed for the cost of courses and subscription fees such as union subscription.  HM Revenue & Customs may challenge the deduction where the course provides you with new skills as opposed to maintaining your existing skills.  In practice, this is unlikely to be a problem for typical 1 day, or even 1-week courses and conferences.  A deduction will also be allowed for related travel and accommodation costs unless there is some other purpose for the trip or you were accompanied by your spouse (in which case any costs relating to them must be disallowed).

You can also claim for clothing and footwear that you wear to protect yourself from the risk of illness or injury posed by your income-earning activities or the environment in which you are required to carry them out. To be considered protective, the items must provide a sufficient degree of protection against that risk.

Protective clothing includes:

  • Fire-resistant and sun-protection clothing
  • Safety-coloured vests
  • Non-slip nurse’s shoes
  • Rubber boots for concreters
  • Steel-capped boots, gloves, overalls, and heavy-duty shirts and trousers
  • Overalls, smocks and aprons you wear to avoid damage or soiling to your ordinary clothes during your income-earning activities.

Ordinary clothes (such as jeans, drill shirts, shorts, trousers, socks, closed shoes) are not regarded as protective clothing if they lack protective qualities designed for the risks of your work.