If your employer states you have to wear one, you can generally claim tax back for washing uniform. Read on for further explanation as how much you can claim and even if you can claim may depend on your job role and how the uniform is paid for.
PLEASE NOTE: This article is not Tax advice, nor are your own tax affairs part of the service at Xamax - we are a workwear company. This article is simply to inform you of your right to claim tax relief for keeping your work uniform clean. You should CONTACT HMRC DIRECTLY - Xamax will not be able to help with your income tax. Read our disclaimer.
Check You are Eligible for Tax Relief First
Before going any further, in order to claim tax relief for washing and maintaining uniforms for work, you must comply with all of the following criteria:
- You wear what is clearly a uniform (of any sort), protective or specialist clothing for work. Being asked to wear a plain white shirt does not count, but one with an embroidered logo does.
- The clothing must obviously be a piece of work uniform to "the average person in the street" when seen out of a work context.
- It is compulsory that you wear this clothing for work.
- Your employer does not provide laundry facilities.
- Your employer does not already give you an allowance for washing and maintaining your uniform.
- You have paid income tax in the year you are claiming for.
What Clothing is Eligible?
Anything which is clearly a uniform, specialist or protective workwear clothing and is compulsory in order to complete your work.
If, when worn outside of work, it would be clearly viewed as "work clothes", then it is eligible. This covers things from a Hi-Vis vest to an embroidered Polo shirt - a pair of action trousers to a custom branded dress shirt.
If you wear your own clothing for work and this has to be cleaned as a result of your tasks at work - e.g. a quantity surveyor's suit getting dirty on site, a bank clerk's own trousers bought to match her branded blouse, a cleaner's own bought tracksuit pants getting stained - this is not eligible.
How to Claim Tax Relief for Doing Laundry
You can simply fill in the P87 form on the HMRC website. You can also print a hard copy and send it by post, if you prefer.
It is quite simple, fill in your details, press send or print it out and post it to the address provided.
We re-iterate - this is nothing to do with Xamax whatsoever - the link above forwards you to HMRC website. Read our disclaimer.
How Much You Can Claim
Generally speaking, the flat yearly rate for cleaning and maintaining your uniform is £60. So if you are in the standard tax band, you will be able to claim 20% of this back, i.e. £12. If you pay 40% tax, you can claim £24.
Certain professions are eligible to claim much more than the standard percentage of £60. This is to account for more rigorous wear and tear and more frequent cleaning. This includes jobs such as builders and allied construction trades, blacksmiths and iron workers, and various others.
What About Previous Years?
Oh Yes! There is good news - You can claim for years you did not know about this tax relief.
For retrospective claims (you can claim back up to four years) you will be due a rebate and your tax code will be adjusted, meaning you will pay less tax going forward.
All you need do is complete the P87 form in exactly the same way as you did for the current year.
What Else You Can Claim for
You can also claim for major purchases required to complete your work - expensive tools/equipment - and also, separately, for maintaining or repairing small items that last less than two years - like safety boots, chisels, drills, scissors etc.
The only stipulation is that anything you claim for is used exclusively for work - so you cannot claim your broadband bill or for that new flask.
And do not forget to renew you claim for Uniform Tax Relief next year too!