It is an employer’s responsibility to supply and maintain essential personal protective equipment (PPE) or workwear required for the job at hand, such as arc flash clothing in environments where arc flash is a hazard, for example. However, protective clothing such as hard hats, boots, and overalls, along with uniforms which identify employees holding certain positions (e.g. chefs), must be cleaned and maintained by the wearer. So is it possible to reclaim tax for the cost of maintaining workwear that’s essential for your job?
The answer is that you may be able to reclaim tax if you meet requirements. If your workplace offers a laundry or maintenance service you will not be eligible. However, if these services are unavailable and you have a responsibility to care for items yourself, you may be able to claim expenses so that you don’t find yourself out of pocket.
To be eligible, you must be required to wear a uniform or specific PPE for your job, and it must be your responsibility to clean, repair, maintain, or replace the workwear as needed. You must also have paid the correct tax for the year in which you are claiming.
Some industries, and some positions within those industries, offer a flat rate that you can reclaim. The rate differs depending on the job and sector, but as a general rule:
Reclaiming Actual Amounts
If your role or industry isn’t included in the flat rate scheme, you can choose to reclaim the actual amounts that you have spent cleaning and maintaining your workwear. This can only be claimed if you keep receipts of your spends, so it’s important to stay organised! It’s a good idea to put a system in place so that you don’t lose anything.
How to Claim
If you are eligible to reclaim tax on your workwear, you can make the claim quickly and easily online using the Government Gateway. If you don’t yet have an account, you can set one up using your National Insurance Number and either a recent pay slip, P60, or valid UK passport. If you are unsure if you are eligible to reclaim tax, the Government offers a handy online expenses tool which should tell you if you can make a claim.