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Can Tax Allowance Be Claimed on Work Clothes?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 26 Aug 2019 | comments*Discuss
Tax Relief Expenses Equipment Clothing


My daughter is a newly qualified hairdresser on the minimum wage and she has to buy all her own equipment to do her job. Her employer also requires them to wear only black clothing. Again this she has to buy herself.

Can she claim tax relief on these. If so how does she go about it?

(Mrs S. A., 29 September 2008)


Almost inevitably, it tends to be the lowest paying employers that expect the most from their staff, particularly in terms of equipment and clothing that must be provided by the employees. This can prove an expensive proposition, particularly when the profession in question requires many specialist tools. This is presumably exacerbated by your daughter’s low wage, and the fact that she must buy everything from scratch.

The good news is that there is some Tax Relief available on both equipment and clothing when these are needed for work and the employee is required to pay for them. This works much the same way as, for example, a Mileage Allowance that would be granted if you paid for fuel during the course of your job.

Your initial question asked about tax relief for clothing is something of a grey area. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will offer tax relief if the clothing is deemed to be a ‘uniform’ and specifically identifies your daughter as a member of staff. As the clothing she is required to wear seems to be non-descript black clothes, she may have some difficulty proving eligibility if this was investigated. In reality, however, if she applies for a uniform allowance, HMRC will almost certainly grant it. Either way, she will certainly be entitled to tax relief on the cost of her equipment.

HMRC has agreed flat rates with some unions, meaning that some workers can receive a basic annual payment to cover the estimated costs of their equipment. This is not the case for hairdressers, though, and your daughter, presuming that she is paid via PAYE, will need to write to HMRC. They will send a copy of form P87, on which she will need to give details of the expenses for which she wishes to make a claim. The expenses will be paid via an adjustment to her existing tax code. If she pays tax via Self Assessment, there is a space in the employment section for detailing these expenses.

In future years the process becomes easier. It is assumed that expenses remain fairly steady, and she will therefore be able to make a claim by telephone as long as the value of the claim does not exceed £1,000.

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LOOPY LOU - 3-Aug-15 @ 1:11 PM
@Max - as specified in the article there is some tax relief available on both equipment and clothing when these are needed for work and the employee is required to pay for them. A deduction can be allowed for clothing that is classed as a uniform or part of a uniform, where the employee is required by his or her duties to wear it and must bear the cost of it. Please see more from the HMRC link here. I hope this helps.
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