Uniform Tax Rebates – Who is Eligible & How to Claim

Do you wear a uniform as part of your job? If so, you may be eligible for a uniform tax rebate. This can involve the overall upkeep of your uniform, including repairing and washing it. The rules are very specific when it comes to the hows and whys so it’s important first to make sure you are eligible. The process of claiming a tax uniform rebate is quite simple once you’ve established if you are eligible.

security guard wearing hi vis uniform

It can be a minefield trying to understand uniform tax rebates and who is eligible. With that in mind, we’ve done our best to simplify the information and break it down into small, digestible pieces of useful advice. The UK tax system can be confusing, but this part of it is relatively straightforward and easy to sort out.

Eligibility For Uniform Tax Rebate

There are strict rules about eligibility to claim a rebate but our guide will help you find out if you are entitled to a uniform tax refund.

You are eligible if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • As part of your job, you must be required by your employer to wear a recognisable uniform. To claim uniform tax relief, the clothing you wear should make it obvious what your job role is. For example, nurses, doctors, fire officers, and clothing with company logo.
  • Your employer requires you to wear your uniform, and pay for it yourself. If you must wear a uniform or protective clothing as part of your job description and these expenses come out of your own pocket, then you may be able to register for tax relief.
  • You are also responsible for the cleaning of your work clothing. You must also pay for the laundering yourself and it should not be something offered by your employer. This is still the case, even if you don’t use the service.
  • You paid income tax for the year you are claiming for. It goes without saying that if you didn’t pay tax, you can’t claim a rebate on it.

What is not Covered by the Rebate

There are large groups of people who are not eligible for the uniform tax refund. This includes the army and the self-employed. The army already has this covered for its staff through their tax code. Self-employed workers should claim their uniform expenses when filling out their tax returns.

You should only claim tax relief for your uniform if you are in charge of cleaning it – if the employer offers this then you should not claim. It’s worth noting at this point that you can’t claim for the initial purchase of these clothes.

How Much is the Tax Refund on Work Uniform?

How much you can claim back on the tax refund on your work uniform will depend on whether you pay the basic tax rate or if you are paying the higher rate threshold. The tax allowance for work uniform is applied at a flat rate. This is £60, you are then eligible for a rebate of the tax you would have paid on this sum.

The refund you can claim is as follows:-

  • Basic Tax Rate Payers – £12
  • Higher Rate Tax Payers – £24

If you are on the basic tax rate, then you can claim the flat rate of £60.  This means you can offset 20% so can effectively claim back £12. If you pay the higher tax threshold then you can claim back £24.

Backdating your claim:-

If you are eligible for the uniform tax rebate you can backdate your claim for up to 4 tax years. However, the last 4 tax years covers 5 years. This means a basic rate taxpayer could claim as follows if they have met the criteria for work uniform above every year:

  • 2021 – 22 – £12
  • 2020 – 21 – £12
  • 2019 – 20 – £12
  • 2018 – 19 – £12
  • 2017 – 18 – £12

Total rebate due for basic rate taxpayers: £60

Total rebate due for higher rate taxpayers: £120

Some Occupations Can Claim a Higher Rebate

The amount you can claim on your uniform tax refund can vary depending on the industry you work in. Some of the occupations that can claim a higher rebate include:

  • Nurses & midwifes – have a standard annual allowance of £125 but can claim additional rebate for hosiery and shoes. This is a minimum rebate of £25 for lower rate tax payers and £50 for higher rate.
  • Firefighters – are entitled to an allowance of £80. This is a £16 rebate for basic rate tax payers and £32 for higher rate.
  • Dental nurses – are entitled to an allowance of £125. This is a £25 rebate for basic rate tax payers and £50 for higher rate.

There are many other occupations which are entitled to claim a uniform tax refund at different rates. You can check the occupations list and see the entitlements on the UK Gov site.

How to Claim Uniform Tax Rebate

Assuming you’ve not claimed a uniform tax refund before, then you first need to register for this service. This can be done either using the online system or filling in a paper copy of the P87 and sending it off. Should you already be registered, then you shouldn’t need to reclaim – instead, your tax code will automatically be adjusted annually.

How is the Rebate Paid Out?

You’ve made the claim but how is the rebate paid out? Once you’ve made your claim, you can expect to receive anything you are owed within 12 weeks. If on top of the uniform tax rebate, you’ve also claimed for small tools and equipment then the process can take a little longer. HMRC will pay the amount into your bank account once it’s been processed and verified.

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