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How to Claim the NHS Uniform Tax Rebate

Are you a care worker wanting to claim the NHS uniform tax rebate? Then read one! You’ll find out about the healthcare workers tax rebate for NHS uniforms, how to check you are eligible and how to work out the amount you can claim from HMRC (including making a backdated claim if you’ve missed claiming in previous years).

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. How Does the Care Worker Tax Rebate Work?

The health care worker uniform tax rebate is a tax refund available to NHS workers who buy their own work uniform and have to wash it themselves. The tax rebate is a financial contribution from HMRC towards the cost of replacing, repairing and washing your uniform.

2. Who Can Claim the NHS Uniform Tax Rebate?

Not all care workers can claim 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 NHS uniform at home then you cannot claim a rebate for washing your uniform);
  • Only claim for your NHS uniform, you cannot claim for things you use in your private life;

3. How Much Can You Claim for the NHS Uniform Tax Rebate

NHS and care workers are entitled to claim a tax rebate for their uniforms, tights and shoes. It covers the cost of replacement, washing & repairs not the initial cost of the uniform. HMRC Uniform Tax Rebate is an amount calculated based on:

  1. The cost of washing, replacing and maintaining your uniform;
  2. The highest rate of income tax you pay.

3.1 How to Work Out The Cost Of Washing, Replacing and Maintaining Your Uniform

HMRC allows two ways to work out the cost of washing, replacing and maintaining your NHS 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, but 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 of the common flat-rate amounts that NHS and care workers can use for their calculating their tax rebate. 

Ambulance staff on active service £185
Nurses, midwives, chiropodists, dental nurses, occupational, speech, physiotherapists and other therapists, healthcare assistants, phlebotomists and radiographers. £125
Plaster room orderlies, hospital porters, ward clerks, sterile supply workers, hospital domestics and hospital catering staff. £125
Laboratory staff, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants. £80
Uniformed ancillary staff: maintenance workers, grounds staff, drivers, parking attendants and security guards, receptionists and other uniformed staff. £80
How to Claim the NHS Uniform Tax Rebate

A complete list can be found on the HMRC website.

In addition to the above, NHS and healthcare workers can make an additional flat rate claim for stocking/tights and shoes.

  • Shoes £12 per year: where the wearing of a prescribed style is obligatory in the hospital or other workplaces in which they may work;
  • Stockings/Tights/Socks £6 per year: where the wearing of a prescribed style or colour is obligatory.

This applies to nurses and midwives of all grades and includes auxiliaries, students, dental nurses, nursing assistants and healthcare assistants.

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 Healthcare 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 NHS & Healthcare 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: Complete a P87 form online, then print and post the form to the address at the end of the form;
  • GO ONLINE: Log into or set up a government gateway account to claim your tax rebate online;
  • BY PHONE: If you have claimed the uniform tax rebate successfully before, then phone 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 another reason.

4.3 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 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 Care Worker Tax Rebate

If this is the first time you have claimed for the uniform tax rebate you can go back 4 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.