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Claiming for Clothing When You’re Self-Employed

I’ve updated this post 8 April 2020

So it is very common for me to be asked about claiming for clothing when you’re self employed as a business expense.

It’s hardly surprising. After all self-employed individuals and sole traders want to claim everything possible to their reduce your tax bills.

When it comes to clothing, it is a grey area, with what is tax deductible being different according to professions and industries.

Here are the rules you need to follow to keep on the right side of HMRC:

Everyday Clothing are Not a Business Expense

Even if you have to wear a suit or certain type of clothing to work, you cannot claim the cost of these outfits against your taxes.

This is simply because there could be occasions where you could wear those clothes for personal reasons.

So if you work from home and choose to wear casual clothes all day, then you wouldn’t be able to claim for these as an expense on your tax return.

Branded Clothing are a Business Expense

If you wear clothing that is branded in your business name, then you can claim a tax deduction for getting it made.

Uniforms are a Business Expense

If you need to buy a uniform that is specifically required to do your job then you can claim for the cost of this against your taxes. That’s people like self-employed beauticians.

Protective Clothing are a Business Expense

Like uniforms, protective clothing is also tax deductible. That’s things like:

  • Hard hats;
  • Steel toe boots;
  • Goggles.

Costumes are a Business Expense

If you have to wear a costume as part of your work, then this cost would be tax deductible.

The obvious examples are clowns but it also extends to any other types of entertainers like models and actors.

Can I Claim for Washing my Work Clothes If I am Self Employed?

You cannot claim for the cost of washing your work clothes or uniform on your tax return.

It is a difficult come up with an amount or percentage that could be claimed that would be fair across all sole traders. And it is difficult to separate from personal laundry to make a clear claim for work purposes.

More on Self Employment Expenses + a Free Checklist

Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant turned entrepreneur who helps the self-employed gain financial confidence when it comes to running the numbers side of their business and filing tax returns with guides, templates and resources on the Go Self-Employed website.