What is A Uniform Tax Rebate?

Many employers in the UK require its employees to wear a uniform to work. This is often required in order for them to become easily identifiable to customers as in the case of guest relations at hotels, amusement park operations team and flight attendants. Some are required to wear uniforms to keep them safe as in the case of factory workers, heavy machinery operators and power plant employees. Some offices require uniforms simply because it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye to have all employees wearing similar, proper office attire.

But did you know that employees who wear uniforms are entitled to uniform tax rebate no matter what reason your employer is using to make you wear a uniform? Very few uniform wearing employees know about this type of tax rebate so only a few also remember to claim it. So what is it all about?

Some specialized uniforms are made of expensive materials that require dry cleaning only. This can add to your budget and can eat up a sizable chunk of your earnings in the long run. Uniform tax rebate is a kind of tax break, which employees get from the cost of laundering, repairing and sometimes, replacing uniforms that they wear to work. The uniforms should be recognizable as company uniforms e.g. flight attendant’s uniforms, polo shirts with company logos printed on any part of the shirt, coats and jackets with the company logo embroidered on the front, overalls with the company logo on it etc.

You are entitled to claim uniform tax rebate if the cost of maintaining these uniforms rests solely on you and if your employer does not provide a facility, which launders your uniforms for you.

Sometimes, the cost of buying or replacing tools that you need at work is also covered by the uniform tax rebate. Just make sure to provide sufficient evidence to support claims that these are indeed part of your work.

Here are the premises or requirements for claiming this tax rebate:

  1. Your employer requires you to wear a recognizable uniform to work – If you are wearing only a white t-shirt and black pants to work without any company distinguishable mark on it then sad to say, you may not be eligible to file a claim for this tax rebate.
  2. Keep the receipts that you have used to launder, repair or replace your uniform – Keep dry cleaning receipts, laundry receipts, receipts from tailors and clothing alteration places, etc. Use them to file for this tax claim. You can also try claiming a flat rate deduction wherein you get a fixed amount yearly based on the amounts set by the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). These are approximated figures that an employee in a particular occupation would spend each year on caring for his uniform. If your job is not on the list from the HMRC then you can still claim a flat rate reduction of £60. You don’t need to keep track of your uniform expenses if you plan to claim a flat rate reduction.
  3. Fill up and submit the appropriate tax form to the local tax office – Consult with your accountant or tax specialist on which kinds of forms you need to complete to claim your tax rebate. Your tax specialist can help you identify if your claim is correct or not.
  4. Provide sufficient evidence as in the case of buying and replacing tools as needed – Consulting with a tax specialist will help you identify which items are considered tax deductible and which are not. Bring all your receipts and evidences on the day of your consultation to ensure that you get all the right tax deductions. Safety shoes are definitely part of a uniform as they help protect you from the hazards related to your employment, so don’t forget to factor that in.

What is not covered with this tax rebate is the initial cost of buying your uniform. Hopefully, your employer will provide you with the initial cost because there is no rebate for that.

The more you know and understand about the kind of tax breaks you have, the more money you can save. Always check with your local tax office as to what other tax breaks you are entitled to.