Uniforms, from specific outfits such as nurses or police officer’s uniforms to bar staff or waiters who are required to wear a shirt with their employer’s logo make up almost 2/3 of the UK working population.
Maintaining a dress code for any organization or business is quite normal.
- Correct dress code makes a suitable corporate image of your organization/business
- It helps in the brand promotion of the organization/ business.
- Customers or the general public can easily identify the employees.
If, as an employee, you are required to wear protective clothing or uniform for work, which is specialized, and you are required to wash & maintain it yourself or purchase a new one without the help of your employer. Even if it a simple T-shirt with your employer’s logo on it or a full uniform similar to what a nurse, doctor, dentist, or pilot is required to wear, then you can claim a uniform tax rebate worth £100s.
Taxes are something that none of us like paying or fully understand. Despite accepting how important they are and why we should pay taxes in a just fair society, all tax-paying working individuals jump at the chance of getting some tax rebate back. The UK government offers tax reliefs of various types based on work expenditures made personally by employees. The option to claim a uniform tax rebate is one of these reliefs. Here’s everything you need to know about why you may be eligible and how to claim a uniform tax rebate.
What is Uniform Tax Relief?
Uniform tax relief (sometimes called uniform benefits, uniform tax rebate, or HMRC uniform allowances) is a special kind of tax relief for people who have to clean, repair or replace specialist work clothing. There are specific rules about who qualifies for it and what counts as a “uniform”, but they’re not always clear. As a result, a lot of people are missing out on years’ worth of tax refunds totaling hundreds of pounds or more.
Part of the expenditure that an employee makes on buying and maintaining his uniform, without any help from the employer, is made up for by the uniform tax relief provided on the income tax.
Am I Eligible for a Uniform Tax Rebate?
The following conditions need to be met if you want to claim this rebate:
- Your uniform must represent your job: The uniform you wear must tell the world what you do. So, if it is a fireman’s uniform, a nurse’s uniform, or in some cases, a uniform with the company logo, then you are good to go. Wearing a clown costume when you are a performer in an amusement park would probably qualify. Wearing a clown uniform when you’re an accountant most likely will not. So basically, if you wear a uniform for your job you could be entitled to a tax refund.
- The expenses for its maintenance and washing are taken care of by you: If you do all the uniform maintenance yourself, including washing the uniform without getting any financial help from your employer, you are entitled to claim the uniform tax rebate. If the money is not coming out of your own pocket, you can’t claim back tax on it.
- You should be an income taxpayer: It is essential that you pay income tax for the year for which you are claiming the tax rebate.
HMRC Form P87
Once you are sure that you may be eligible to claim a uniform tax rebate, then the first thing that you need to do is complete a uniform tax rebate form P87 and submit it to the HMRC. All Rebates for employment expenses are all filed through a uniform tax rebate form P87 which includes details like your job, work industry, employer details, National Insurance Number, and the PAYE number. Make sure you provide the correct information.
To notify HMRC of any due uniform tax rebate or tax relief, you can either submit this form online or fill it, print it, and post it to them at the following address:
Pay As You Earn
HM Revenue and Customs
Post submission of the online form, you get a reference number you can use to track the progress of your claim. Normally, it takes around 8 weeks for the claim to get processed, but currently, due to the pandemic, it is taking more than 4 months.
However, remember not to use this form if you have not paid any tax during the related tax year, as you cannot claim a tax rebate if you have not paid any tax in that tax year. If your claim is more than £2500 then you will have to complete a Self-Assessment tax return for the concerned year and provide proof of the expenses. If you do not file a self-Assessment tax return, you could be liable for fines and penalties.
When can you use the P87 form?
You are eligible to claim for your work-related expenses vis the form if:
- You’re an employee
- You do not have to submit an annual tax return
- Your allowable expenses are less than £2,500 for the tax year
When can’t you use HMRC Form P87?
You cannot use the P87 form if:
- You’re self-employed
- Your self-assessment tax return is already complete
- Your total expenses exceed £2,500 in a given year
- You’ve not paid any tax throughout the year
Calculating the Uniform Tax Rebate
The tax relief amount you’re able to claim depends on the type of industry and job you are working. The normal flat-rate cost allowance for taking care of the uniform is £60 – a basic rate taxpayer can claim 20% of the normal flat-rate cost allowance, i.e. £12. A higher rate taxpayer (earning above £50k per year) can claim 40% of the normal flat rate cost allowance, i.e. £24.
Most people can backdate their claim up to 4 years., so back to April 2017, plus the present year (5 years together), if they’ve been wearing the uniform all the time. Here a basic rate taxpayer, who is claiming the standard uniform allowance for the year ranging from 2017/18 – 2021/22, can regain an amount of £60 in total.
Claiming for the actual work expense amount spent each year
If you feel that your expenses exceed the standard flat rate decided by the HMRC and you have receipts, you can opt to file a claim on the actual amount you spent over the last 4 years, and in the current tax year, you are filing a claim for. However, you need to have all the receipts of your expenses to file for such a claim. Once you do, HMRC will evaluate your claim and notify you of the amount that is due to you as the Uniform tax refund.
Again, it is to be noted that you can claim the uniform tax rebate for the current year as well as claim back for the last four years, provided you have been wearing a uniform for the respective years and have also paid the income tax for those years. However, if your employer has already repaid you for your expenses, you cannot file a claim.
Claiming Uniform Tax Rebate
Individuals claiming for the uniform tax rebate for the first time will have to fill in P87 form with details such as job title, industry, details of employers, national insurance number (NIC), and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) number, letting HMRC identify if the person is eligible for the claim or not. Once they receive P87, with complete details, it could take up to 8 weeks for the claim to be processed during normal times.
Check the full list of industry & occupations from HMRC to see if yours is listed and what your allowance could be.
How to Claim Uniform Tax Relief
Before you contact the HMRC for claiming your uniform tax rebate, it is a good idea to have all your details in hand and one place. The details regarding your employer, your industry of work, job title, financial aid provided for maintenance of your uniform, more specifically- the cleaning or laundry services offered, etc., are a few of the essential things to be kept in mind when you make a claim
If you are claiming a Uniform tax rebate for the first time or paid more than £1,000, you will have to fill in the P87 form and submit it either online or via post to the HMRC. If you are filing for more than one year, each year will require a separate form.
If you have filed a claim earlier, under ideal situations, your tax code will automatically get adjusted to include your costs. However, if this automatic adjustment doesn’t happen, you can get in touch with HMRC through post or over a call on 0300 200 3310.
If an employee is filing in a self-assessment, he/she can add the amount to expenses. If not, they can claim the relief through:
- Letter – If this is the first time an employee is claiming work uniform relief, he/she must contact HMRC in writing. Address: HM Revenue & Customs, Pay As You Earn, PO Box 1970, Liverpool, L75 1WX
- Telephone – Alternate option is to contact them by telephone on 0300 200 3310. Before contacting them, the following information should be kept handy:
- Employer’s name and address
- Industry in which the employee works
- Employee’s occupation
- Details of any cleaning or laundry service provided by the employer
- Information on payment supplied by the employer to cover laundry and additional uniform costs.
Uniform Tax Relief Claim Details
For your ease, see below all the contact details of the authorities whom you will have to contact throughout filing a claim for your uniform tax rebate.
Postal Address :
Pay As You Earn
HM Revenue and Customs
Quick Tip: Writing ‘Repayment Claim’ on top of the envelope that you are forwarding just might speed things up for you
HMRC’s Helpline number: 0300 200 3300
So if you are an employee who sadly, has to spend his own money to meet your job’s requirements- be it for traveling or buying equipment or maintenance of your uniform- you are free to claim the tax deduction that the UK government offers to UK tax-paying employees. All the expenditures that you made on buying your uniform, your expenses on laundry, and any other maintenance expenses that you incurred, can now be made up with a reduction in the effective taxes you pay. You just need to remember to file a claim within 4 years of the concerned year otherwise you shall lose it. And finally, it is always a good idea to keep a record of the expenses made on your uniform, just in case HMRC requires you to present them for verification at some point during the entire process.