Claim it, it's yours: uniform tax relief

By Paul Lewis, Thursday 6 June 2013

The Government is to help people in the armed forces with the cost of cleaning their uniforms, writes Paul Lewis.
From April 2014 all service personnel will get tax-free allowance towards cost of cleaning uniformsFrom April 2014 all service personnel will get tax-free allowance towards cost of cleaning uniforms

At the moment all ranks have to keep clean at least some parts of their uniform at their own expense. But at the moment no tax relief is available on the cost and only officers get any allowance towards it. That puts lower ranks at a disadvantage compared with millions of other workers who can claim some tax relief on the cost of keeping clean the uniforms or specialist clothes they have to wear at work.

After I wrote about tax relief on work clothes last April a large number of service personnel made a claim. At the time they were not entitled to any help. But it triggered a review by the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue and Customs. I have now been told that from April 2014 all service personnel will get a tax-free allowance towards the cost. How much it will be has not yet been decided.

Although service personnel have to wait, other workers can claim now if they have to wear 'distinctive' clothing at work. That can include anything in company colours or with a logo on it that you wouldn’t be seen dead in anywhere else. It could be a company T-shirt or a skirt and top with the company logo on. But a suit or plain skirt and blouse would not be eligible. People who need protective clothing can also make the claim.

The savings on your annual tax bill are not huge. If you have to pay to wash it and keep it clean and maintained you may be able to save between £12 and £28 a year off your tax But if you have worn the outfit for some time you can claim it back to 2009/10.

Five year's relief could mean a refund from HMRC for a least £60 if you’re a basic rate taxpayer. Some in particular jobs or trades will get more than twice as much. And you can double all those amounts if you pay higher rate tax.

The tax relief is given at a flat rate whatever you actually spend on washing or cleaning the clothes. There is a minimum of £60 a year - worth £12 to a basic rate taxpayer. But some trades have a higher flatrate amount. For example, nurses can claim £100 (worth £20), plumbers £120 (worth £24), garage workers £80 (worth £16) and police officers £140 (worth £28). The relief is worth twice as much to higher rate taxpayers. A list of all the standard amounts is here hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/eim32712.htm.

Claiming: Write to the tax office address on your Coding Notice or payslip or direct to HMRC, PAYE, PO Box 1970, LIVERPOOL L75 1WX. Send your name, address, NI number, full details of your employer back to 2009/10, your job title, the clothes you have to wear and why you can’t wear them outside work. You can ask for past year's relief to be paid by cheque.

More at www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax/relief-tools.htm

* Read Paul Lewis's money articles every month in Saga Magazine


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

Related

  • euro and sterling

    Catastrophic conversion: watch out for inflated exchange rates

    Hiring a car abroad? Well, best check your credit card statement for punitive exchange rates, says Saga Magazine's money expert Annie Shaw.

    Read on

  • Electronic banking

    Electronic transfers: how banks can sharpen up their act

    The banking industry has much to do to make everyone feel at ease with electronic payments, writes Annie Shaw.

    Read on

  • Browser bar

    Staying secure online: removing personal data from search engines

    Has your personal information ever been published on the internet and caused you concern?

    Read on

  • Web Savings thumbnail

    Fixed rate savings account

    For simple lump sum deposits designed for those looking for an attractive fixed rate.

    MORE INFO

  • Share dealing

    Stocks & Shares ISA

    By holding a stocks and shares ISA you can benefit from the Government’s annual ISA allowance.

    MORE INFO

  • Share dealing

    Share dealing

    The opportunity to take control of your finances and make the investment decisions that are right for you.

    MORE INFO


  • Kevin

    Posted: Monday 30 December 2013

    I looked at this a lot on the internet and its seems fairly straightforward. However, HMRC won't tell you what you can claim for. I called http://www.u-tax.net/ who went through what I did for work and added things onto my claim that I never thought would be possible. Not necessarily recommending a third party over doing it yourself, but they did help to get more back than I could have done.

COMMENTS

Type your comment here


 characters remaining.

Saga Magazine

For more fascinating stories and insightful articles, why not try Saga Magazine for just £1 for 3 issues.

Financial Planning

Financial Planning

The Saga Financial Planning Service provided by my wealth, offers you a simple and straightforward way of ensuring your savings and investments are working hard to achieve your financial objectives.

Fixed rate savings

  • Earn 2.00% gross / AER fixed with our 2 Year Fixed Rate Savings Account on balances of £1+
  • Withdrawal charges apply.

International Payments

International money transfer service at bank beating exchange rates

  • Fast, secure money transfers
  • No hidden charges