As employees, do you dress in protective clothing or uniform for work, which is specialized? Are you required to wash it, or purchase a new one without the help of the employer? Is it a simple shirt or an attire similar to a nurse, doctor, dentist, or pilot? If any of these points hold true, employees can claim uniform tax worth £100s through the government’s uniform tax scheme.
Taxes are something which none of us like paying. Despite understanding how important they are and why we should pay taxes as responsible citizens, every single working individual jumps at the thought of not having to pay it. Even the thought of getting a rebate is exciting for many. The UK government, to much relief of the UK employees, offers tax reliefs of various sorts based on the work expenditures made out of the employee’s own pockets. The option of claiming a uniform tax rebate is one of these reliefs. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is uniform tax relief?
Today, most of the workplaces in the United Kingdom mandate it for their employees to wear uniforms, driven by various incentives. Now if you are one of such employees who wear a uniform or some protective clothing to your workplace, the expenses for which you pay out of your pocket, then you are entitled to claim the uniform tax rebate. It is meant to cover or provide some relief to the employees from the income tax that they pay to the government.
Part of the expenditure that an employee makes on buying and maintaining his uniform, without any help from his employer, is made up for by the uniform tax relief provided on the income tax by the HMRC.
Who is eligible to claim the uniform tax rebate?
The following conditions need to be met if you want to claim the uniform tax rebate from HMRC:
- Your uniform must represent your job: The uniform that you wear must tell the world what you do. So if it is a doctor’s uniform, a police officer’s uniform or in some cases, a uniform with the company logo, then you are good to go.
- The expenses for its maintenance and washing are taken care of by you: If all the maintenance including washing of the uniform is done by you without any financial help from your employer, you are entitled to claiming the uniform tax rebate
- You should be an income tax payer: It is essential for you to have paid the income tax for the year for which the uniform tax rebate is to be claimed.
Form P87 is your first friend
Once you are sure that you are entitled to claim tax relief on uniform tax, then the first thing that you need to do is fill form P87- the form for ‘Tax Relief for Expenses of Employment’- and submit it to the HMRC. Rebate on the uniform tax or any other employment expenses is all filed through Form P87 which includes details like your job, the industry of work, employer details, National Insurance Number and the PAYE number.
To notify HMRC of any due tax rebate or relief, you can either, submit this form online or fill it, print it and post it to the HMRC, at the following address:
Pay As You Earn
HM Revenue and Customs
Post submission of the online form, you get a reference number which you can use to track the progress of your claim. Normally, it takes around five weeks for the claim to get processed after HMRC receives your completed form.
However, remember not to use this form if you haven’t paid any tax during the concerned year or if your claim is more than £2500, in which case you will have to fill a Self Assessment tax return for the concerned year.
Calculating the Uniform Tax Rebate
Opting for the flat rate deduction
For the year 2017-18, the standard flat rate amount is £60. Low rate taxpayers can claim up to 20% of this flat rate while high-rate taxpayers can claim up to 40% of this amount as their uniform tax rebate. Again, a few exceptions apply to iron and steel workers, carpenters and police officers who have a flat rate of £140 per year.
Claiming for the actual amount spent each year
If you feel that your expenses exceed the standard flat rate decided by the HMRC, you can opt for filing a claim on the actual amount that you spent over the last year and in the year that you are filing a claim for. However, you need to have all the records of expenditures- the transaction receipts of your expenses to file for such a claim. Once you do, HMRC will evaluate your claim and notify you of the amount that is due to you as the Uniform tax refund.
Again, it is to be noted that you can claim the uniform tax rebate for the current year as well as for the last four years, provided you have been wearing a uniform for the respective years and have also paid the income tax for those years. However, if your employer has already repaid you for your expenses, you cannot file a claim.
Filing for the first claim
Individuals claiming for the uniform tax rebate for the first time, will have to fill in P87 form with details such as job title, industry, details of employers, national insurance number (NIC), and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) number, letting HMRC identify if the person is eligible for the claim or not. Once HMRC receives form P87, with complete details, it could take upto five (5) weeks for the claim to be processed.
How to claim uniform tax relief?
Before you contact the HMRC for filing your uniform tax rebate, it is a good idea to have all your details in hand and at one place. The details regarding your employer, your industry of work, financial aid provided by the employer for maintenance of your uniform, more specifically- the cleaning or laundry services offered by the employer, etc. are few of the extremely important things to be kept in mind while filing for a uniform tax rebate.
Now if you are claiming a tax rebate for the first time or you paid more than £1,000, you will have to fill in the P87 form and submit it either online or via post to the HMRC. If you are filing for more than one year, each year will require a separate form.
If you have filed a claim earlier, under ideal situations, your tax code will automatically get adjusted to include your costs. However, if this automatic adjustment doesn’t happen, you can get in touch with HMRC through post or over a call on 0845-300-0627.
If an employee is filing in a self-assessment, he / she can add the amount to expenses. If not, they can claim the relief through:
- Letter – If this is the first time an employee is claiming for work uniform relief, he / she must contact HMRC in writing. Address: HM Revenue & Customs, Pay As You Earn, PO Box 1970, Liverpool, L75 1WX
- Telephone – Alternate option is to contact HMRC by telephone at 0845-300-0627
Before contacting HMRC, the following information should be kept handy:
- Employer’s name and address
- Industry in which the employee works
- Employee’s occupation
- Details of any cleaning or laundry service provided by employer
- Information of payment provided by the employer to cover laundry and additional uniform costs
Laundry allowance claims – Ministry of Defence
Below mentioned is the annual Flat Rate Expense Allowance (FREA) for laundry service:
- Army – £100
- Royal Air Force – £100
- Royal Marines – £100
- Royal Navy – £80
The FREA computation will be backdated from 6 April 2008. An officer will get the full expense allowance due for each year of service and the allowance will not be reduced if the service began or finished part-way through a year. The FREA will be given by amending the tax code for the tax year 2013-2014. In the majority of cases, the revised tax code will be used. This will mean that an officer will pay less tax in the month the revised tax code is used. If an officer is not in employment at present but completes a Self Assessment tax return, the allowance will be added to the Self Assessment statement of account. HMRC pays compensation when there is a delay in processing the repayment and this is termed as repayment supplement (RPS). The average annual interest rate over the period is 0.5%.
Contact Details: Uniform Tax Rebate
For your ease, here we compile all the contact details of the authorities who you will have to contact over the course of filing a claim for your uniform tax rebate.
Postal Address of HMRC:
Pay As You Earn
HM Revenue and Customs
It is okay for you to omit the street name, city name or the PO Box number while posting your form to this specific address.
Contact number : 0845-300-0627
Alternatively, you can also try HMRC’s helpline number which is:
HMRC’s Helpline number : 0300 200 3300.
So if you are an employee who sadly, has to shell money out of your own pocket to meet your job’s requirements- be it for travelling or buying equipment or maintenance of your uniform- you are free to claim the tax relief that the UK government offers to its employees. The uniform tax rebate or relief that the HMRC offers to all the UK employees hence comes as a huge relief for the working class of today who is more often than not, mandated by its employer to wear a uniform. So all the expenditure that you made on buying your uniform, your expenses on laundry and any other maintenance expenses that you incurred, can now be made up for with a reduction in the effective taxes that you pay. You just need to remember to file a claim within 4 years of the concerned year lest you shall lose it. And on the last note, it is always a good idea to keep a record of the expenses made on your uniform, just in case you are required by the HMRC to present them for verification at some point during the entire process.