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How to claim the uniform tax rebate

We've updated this guide on 15th February 2021

Uniforms are required as part of many jobs, but did you know that you might be missing out on the uniform tax rebate? That’s right, if you wear a uniform for your job you may be entitled to a tax refund! Whether it’s working on the tills at a supermarket or as a nurse in A&E, if you have to wear a uniform, you may be able to claim. 

However, there are a few conditions for you to be eligible for the uniform tax rebate:

  • You must only use the uniform for work
  • You’re required by your employer to clean your own uniform
  • You either have to buy the uniform yourself or are required to spend your own money repairing or replacing it

If your employer pays for your uniform or provides facilities for it to be cleaned, you are unlikely to be able to claim the uniform tax rebate. 

What is a uniform in the eyes of HMRC?

A uniform is a set of specialised clothing that identifies someone as having a particular occupation. The easiest example is a police uniform, which is instantly recognisable. 

However, an example of what isn’t a uniform is a company that asks all of its reception staff to wear a white shirt and black trousers. You also can’t claim tax relief for everyday clothing, even if you wear it for work.

What about flat rate expenses for uniforms?

Some industries have a flat rate arranged with the government, which employees are able to claim. This simplifies the process, as you do not need to keep track of any receipts for expenses claims. 

Flat rate expenses allow you to claim tax relief for a standardised amount each tax year. The amount depends on the industry you work in and what your job title is. A selection of industries which qualify for a flat rate include:

  • Agriculture – £100
  • Airlines, such as pilots or flight attendants – £1,022
  • Building, such as joiners, carpenters or cement workers – up to £140
  • Clothing, such as dyers, lacemakers or knitters – £60
  • Heating, such as plumbers – up to £120
  • NHS staff, such as ambulance staff, midwives, nurses or dental nurses – up to £185
  • Forestry workers – £100
  • Public transport workers, such as conductors and drivers – up to £80
  • Printing, such as ink and roller makers, bench hands and machine minders – up to £140

Visit gov.uk for the full list. 

If you prefer to make a claim for the exact amount you have spent on uniform expenses, you will need to keep track of your receipts. 

How do I claim the uniform tax rebate?

First things first, this is a tax rebate, not a tax exemption. This means that, unlike doing a Self Assessment tax return, you will have already been paying tax as an employee on PAYE. Then, after having paid the full tax, you can apply for what amounts to a refund for the costs of buying or caring for your uniform.

You can make your uniform tax rebate claim at any time, but it must be for a year in which you have already paid or are currently paying tax. You can choose to either make a flat rate claim if your job is applicable, or you can claim for the actual amount you have spent. If you prefer to do the latter, you will need to have kept all of your receipts. 

If you’re self-employed, our guides on the Self Assessment tax return will be more useful for you.

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