You could be entitled to a tax refund of £100s for up to five years of work expenses if you wear a uniform at work and have to wash, fix, or replace it yourself. If it’s a branded T-shirt or a uniform specific to your industry, you could be owed a tax rebate.

Am I eligible to apply for Uniform Allowance?

To be eligible for a tax rebate, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • You wear a recognizable uniform that identifies the occupation, such as a branded T-shirt, a nurse’s uniform, or a police uniform. According to HMRC, a simple test would be whether you were out and about in your work uniform and a member of the public recognized your employer from the logos or business name on your uniform.
  • Your employer requires that you wear it when on the job.
  • It is your responsibility to buy, clean, fix, or upgrade it. You cannot, however, claim if your employer washes your equipment, offers facilities for doing so (even if you don’t use them), or pays you to do so.
  • You paid income tax in the year you are claiming for. You can’t claim this benefit if you didn’t pay any taxes in the year you’re claiming, since this is a benefit to minimize your tax liability.

What is a P87 form?

P87 form is a document you use to use to claim tax relief directly with HMRC for your work expenses such as Uniform Allowance. You can only claim your tax refunds with a P87 if you’re an employee and pay tax. If you’re self-employed, you must tell HMRC about your expenses through the self-assessment system. You also have to use Self-Assessment if you have work expenses of over £2,500 to claim for in one year, as you may then need to provide proof.

You will need to submit a separate P87 for each job you’re claiming a tax refund for as the rates and eligibility for jobs you have worked in may differ.

Who can’t claim this Uniform Tax Allowance?

Armed forces personnel are one category that should not be required to go through the process. Their tax code could address the expense of maintaining their uniforms, with their tax-free personal allowance increased to compensate.

If you’re self-employed, you can claim uniform and laundry costs on your self-assessment tax return rather than claiming directly with HMRC.

How much can I get back for my Uniform Allowance claim?

The regular flat-rate uniform maintenance cost allowance is £60. You’ll get back the amount of tax you would have paid on the £60 if you applied for a uniform tax refund. As a result, whether you’re a basic-rate taxpayer, you’ll get a refund of 20% of £60, or £12. Higher-rate taxpayers can receive a refund of £24.

You can backdate your claim for up to 4 years. If you are successful, the current tax rebate is applied to your tax account and the backdated amount is sent to you as a lump sum payment.

Depending on your industry, you might be able to receive more.

Some jobs have more strict restrictions, such as ambulance personnel, who have a maximum annual allowance of £185 due to the use of specialized uniforms. For each year they say, basic-rate taxpayers will receive £37 in tax back (higher-rate taxpayers would receive £74). Nurses and midwives will apply for shoes, socks, and tights in addition to their regular allowance (£125).

Click here to check the full list of industries & occupations with their HMRC tax relief rates.

Can I claim Uniform Allowance if I only had to wear the uniform for part of the year?

Tax relief for cleaning a uniform is a flat rate, so as long as you were required to wear the uniform at any point in the year – even one day, you are entitled to get the full year’s tax relief.

So even if you did not complete a full tax year at the job you will still be eligible for this tax relief.

How and when will I get the money?

Your tax code will adjust for the current tax year, meaning you’ll be taxed less in the future and see a small boost in your take-home pay. According to HMRC, getting a new tax code normally takes two days. However, whether you’ll see a difference in the actual pay depends on whether the employer receives it before the payroll cut-off date.

HMRC will either make changes to the tax code or grant you a tax refund if your claim is for previous tax years. You’ll get a letter from HMRC after your application has been submitted and processed, detailing how much you’re entitled to and when the money will be paid.

HMRC normally responds to a Uniform Allowance claim within 8-10 weeks, but due to the pandemic, they are currently taking up to 4 months. This should go back to normal towards the end of 2021.

Do I have to claim a uniform tax rebate every year?

No, once you have successfully applied for Uniform Allowance, it is added as a tax credit to your account every tax year unless you leave or change the job. You can make a new uniform tax rebate claim when you start a new job as the FRE rate may be different from that of the previous job. A Uniform Allowance rebate claim must be for a year in which you have already paid or are currently paying tax. You can choose to either make a flat-rate claim if your new job is applicable, or you can claim for the actual amount you have spent.

How we can help

Claim My Tax Back offers assistance in claiming back money owed to you for your Uniform Expenses. The application process is quick and easy and only takes 2 minutes. After you have submitted your online claim, it then takes between 8 to 12 weeks to find out how much you could be owed and payment will be sent to you.