In this article I show you how to claim a uniform tax rebate for wearing and washing a uniform. It includes how to check how much you are eligible for, which tax form you need for your claim and how to make a backdated claim if you’ve missed a uniform tax refund in previous years.
Table of contents
- 1. What is the Uniform Tax Rebate?
- 2. Who Can Claim a Uniform Tax Refund?
- 3. How Much Can You Claim for Washing Your Uniform?
- 4. How to Claim Your Uniform Tax Rebate
- 5. How You’ll Receive Your HMRC Uniform Tax Rebate
- 6. Claiming Backdated Uniform Tax Refund
Friendly Disclaimer: Whilst I am an accountant, I’m not your accountant. The information in this article is legally correct but it is for guidance and information purposes only. Everyone’s situation is different and unique so you’ll need to use your own best judgement when applying the advice that I give to your situation. If you are unsure or have a question be sure to contact a qualified professional because mistakes can result in penalties.
1. What is the Uniform Tax Rebate?
The Uniform Tax Rebate is a tax refund available for anyone who wears a uniform at work that they have paid for personally which they have to wash. The tax rebate is a financial contribution from HMRC towards the cost of replacing, repairing and washing your uniform. This is in addition to specialist clothing like safety boots. Here are common occupations of people who are eligible to claim a uniform tax refund:
- NHS & care workers
- Airline staff
- Pharmacy workers
- Police workers
- Construction workers
- Prison staff
2. Who Can Claim a Uniform Tax Refund?
Not everyone can receive a tax rebate. To be eligible you must:
- Be employed and receive a payslip (different rules apply if you are self-employed);
- Have paid tax in the tax year that you spent money on your uniform;
- Have paid for the costs yourself – if you’ve been reimbursed, you cannot claim a rebate;
- Not have been provided with an alternative, but chosen not to use it. (For example, if your employer provides laundering facilities but you opt to wash your uniform at home then you cannot claim a tax refund);
- Only claim for your uniform tax rebate, you cannot claim for things you use in your private life.
3. How Much Can You Claim for Washing Your Uniform?
The uniform tax refund covers the cost of replacement, washing & repairs not the initial cost of the uniform. The tax rebate calculation is based on:
- The cost of replacing, maintaining and washing your uniform;
- The highest rate of income tax you pay.
3.1 How to Work Out The Cost Of Replacing, Maintaining and Washing Your Uniform
HMRC allows two ways to work out the cost of washing, replacing and maintaining your uniform – using actual cost or a flat rate. If you choose to use actual costs, you’ll need to keep receipts as evidence of what you have paid. However, this can get complicated, especially if you want to claim a tax rebate for washing your uniform. Instead, you can claim a flat-rate amount, depending on your occupation (and avoid keeping receipts). Here are some examples:
- Joiners & Carpenters £140
- Labourers £80
- Nurses £125
- Ambulance Staff £185
- Uniformed prison officers £80
A complete list can be found on the HMRC website. If your occupation isn’t specifically listed you can claim a standard annual amount of £60.
3.2 How to Find Out Your Highest Rate of Tax
The amount of income tax you pay and the rate you pay depends on how much you earn. To find out the highest rate of tax you are paying you can check your payslip or ask your employer.
3.3 How to Calculate Your Uniform Tax Rebate
To work out what you will get back you need to multiply the cost of washing, replacing and maintenance by your highest tax rate. For example, if you can claim a flat-rate deduction of £60 and pay tax at a rate of 20%, you will receive a £12 tax rebate (£60 x 20%).
4. How to Claim Your Uniform Tax Rebate
How you claim for the uniform tax rebate depends on the amount you are claiming and your circumstances.
4.1 Claims Up to £2,500
- By Post: you’ll need to complete a P87 form online post it to the address shown at the end of the form;
- Go Online: you’ll need to either creating an HMRC online account unless you have one already;
- By Phone: if you have already made a claim in the past, call HMRC on 0300 200 3300. Make sure you have your national insurance number ready;
- On a self-assessment tax return, if you are self-employed or complete one for other reasons.
4.2 Claims Over £2,500
If your claim is for over £2,500, then you need to complete a tax return. To do this you’ll need to register for self-assessment. The process can take up to 10 days and once successful you will receive a welcome letter from HMRC with your UTR number.
5. How You’ll Receive Your HMRC Uniform Tax Rebate
Once approved by HMRC, both you and your employer will receive a P6 notification from HMRC notifying you of a change to your tax code. Your employer will then change your tax code and you’ll receive your rebate through your payslip.
6. Claiming Backdated Uniform Tax Refund
If this is the first time you have claimed for the uniform tax rebate, you can go back four years, to make a backdated claim for anything you’ve missed. It is recommended to call HMRC on their tax rebate number 0300 200 3300 to discuss backdated claims before you submit them.