Do you have to wear a uniform for work? Do you have to clean it yourself? If so, you could be due some nice cash in a tax rebate – also known as the ‘laundry allowance’. It doesn’t apply to everyone but thousands could be missing out right now.
Here’s how to get money back if you wear a uniform:
Who can claim the tax rebate for cleaning a uniform?
Firstly, bad news if you’re in the armed forces. You don’t qualify because the uniform-cleaning element is already taken care of in your tax code. However, it’s worth just checking with personnel to make sure you’re on the right tax code.
For everyone else, you need to be able to say yes to all of these:
You wear a uniform that shows you do a particular job, like a nurse, police officer or traffic warden.
You have to pay to clean, repair or replace it yourself. This is important because you can’t claim if your employer cleans it or has it cleaned or provides facilities for you to clean it.
If your employer only pays part of your expenses. In this case, you can use this handy calculator to figure out how much you are due.
It’s part of your job that you have to wear it while you’re working. Nurses and midwifes are also able to claim for the replacement of shoes, socks and underwear.
If you are self-employed and have specific clothes you need to wear, you can claim, but not if you are just working in your everyday clothes.
You paid income tax in the year (or years) you’re claiming for.
How do I claim the tax rebate for my uniform?
Firstly don’t use one of the ‘companies’ that specialises in reclaiming uniform tax relief.
If you search online you will find a few of these coming up on the first page.
Ignore them. They’re those ambulance-chaser types that also offer reclaiming PPI etc. They will charge you silly money for doing something easy.
All you have to do is in this article (which is pretty short as you can see!).
You can write an actual letter to the tax office on your payslip or P60. If you can’t find it, ask your employer or ring the HMRC helpline to get it.
Alternatively, you can fill the form out online here.
In the letter/online form you just need to put:
your occupation, job title and your employer’s name and address together with dates of your employment for the past four years (if that’s what you’re claiming for)
details of any laundry or cleaning services provided by your employer, if any
why your uniform can’t be worn outside work (although you may still be able to make a case for sweatshirts/T-shirts that were bought specifically for the job)
and whether you want the rebate to be deducted from the current year’s tax or you would like it sent to you as a cheque
N.B. you don’t have to tell them how much it cost you to do the cleaning as it’s a flat rate of £60 tax allowance per year for everyone.
Once you have claimed for this rebate – and been accepted – it will be taken off your tax in future.
If you have reclaimed before and want to do it again you just ring them – 0845 300 0627.
…and that’s all you need to tell them. You should get a reply within a few weeks.
In fact, here’s a template letter you can send. Just copy and paste this an fill in your details:
Sample letter to the tax office
Your Name Your Address
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Office Address Postcode.
Dear Sir or Madam
RE: Uniform Expenses Allowance NI No: x
I have been employed by (Company Name), (Location) since (Date of Starting at Employment).
My employer’s PAYE reference is x, my payroll number is x.
I am (provided with x uniforms bearing the company logo/provided with x protective clothing for my work/obliged to wear x for my work).
I have to clean and maintain the uniform, which is supplied to me by the company as there are no laundry facilities available to me. I therefore wish to claim expenses allowance of £60 for each year since 20xx.
(Other equipment/clothes I am required to buy include shoes and trousers that conform to the company dress code/special footwear/tights. These cost me £x in the last year, and I have to purchase them annually. I am applying for £x tax allowance for these.)
(Your Name) (Your Tax code)
How much money could I make from the tax rebate?
The amount you can make depends on which industry you work in and how long you’re applying for.
You should be able to apply for this year and the past four years.
The usual tax allowance for cleaning a uniform is £60 a year as you can see on the Government website here.. It’s a flat rate for everyone.
This means that you should have had £12 taken off your tax bill each year (if you’re a normal, 20% tax-payer) or £24 if you are a 40% tax-payer. If you didn’t then that is what you could claim.
So if you’re a standard (20%) tax-payer you could claim up to £60 in total (if you claim for this year and the four years before). If you’re a higher rate (40%) tax-payer you should be able to get up to £120.
Some trades can claim even more. Blacksmiths, pattern makers and ambulance drivers, for example, can claim £140. You can find out what, if anything, you can claim at the HMRC website here.
Not only that, but there are tax allowances given for other items of clothing or tools for some professions. Again, the HMRC website gives you the list or you can just ring their tax helpline 0845 300 0627.
For example, if you work from home at least one day a week and your employer doesn’t reimburse your costs, you can get tax relief on the cost of heating, lighting, computer costs and so on; nurses get £12 for shoes and £6 for tights and doctors can claim for a replacement stethoscope.