Tax & Admin

What Is a Uniform Tax Rebate And How Do You Claim It?

Allison S Robinson | 26 April 2022 | 2 years ago

What Is a Uniform Tax Rebate And How Do You Claim It

A uniform tax rebate is a refund of the tax that you have paid on the cost of washing, repairing and replacing clothing that you have to wear as a uniform for work in any given tax year. If eligible for the refund, the rebate can be worth a value depending on the job that you do and the tax bracket that your salary falls into.

Workers can either choose to claim a flat rate rebate amount of £12 a year for basic tax-rate payers or £24 a year for higher tax-rate payers. The rebate due can be more than this if you are submitting a claim for the actual costs that you have incurred concerning your uniform, rather than using HMRC’s flat rate which is based on workers spending £60 a year towards the cost of keeping their uniform in good condition.

The rebate can be claimed for free by filling out a simple form from HMRC or submitting a tax return for self-employed people.

Read on for more information about uniform tax rebates including who is eligible, how to make your claim, what is covered, and how much you could be due to receive.

What Is A Uniform?

A uniform is any item of clothing, full outfit or protective equipment or clothing that you are required to wear when doing a job. A uniform is usually associated with paid employment but can be used for voluntary work too and it is an easy way of identifying if people belong to the same organisation or to visually distinguish between certain roles, departments or positions within a company.

What Is A Tax Rebate?

A tax rebate is a refund on the amount of tax that you have paid to HMRC in any given tax year. A tax rebate is usually received when employees make a claim directly to HMRC by using a specific form or by filling in a self-assessment tax return. If employed, you will usually receive the amount due to you via bank transfer or cheque and for the self-employed, the amount owed will usually be deducted from your current tax year’s tax owed.

What Is A Uniform Tax Rebate?

A uniform tax rebate is a tax relief (money that you can claim back) that people who wear uniforms to work can qualify for. A uniform tax rebate will refund the tax that you have paid on getting your uniform cleaned, repaired or replaced if you cover the costs of these tasks yourself without any reimbursement or help from your employer.

How To Make A Uniform Tax Rebate Claim?

If you have never claimed a tax allowance before, or the amount that you have paid towards your uniform was more than £1000 then you can fill out this form from HMRC and submit it online or via post.

If you have claimed before, your tax code will usually be adjusted for future years to take into account of your uniform costs. If you role has changed or the amount you’re entitled to claim isn’t factored into your tax code, you should call HMRC to request the adjustment is made.

When you have submitted your claim, if the claim relates to the current tax year, your tax code will change to provide a higher personal tax-free allowance which will take into account the uniform tax rebate owed. This change will be reflected in your take-home pay so you will be taxed slightly less, meaning your take-home pay increases.

If the claim relates to previous tax years, HMRC will either adjust your tax code or send you a tax refund letter through the post letting you know how and when the money will be paid.

Can I Backdate My Claim?

Calendar on desk with a pencil

If you have only just heard about the uniform tax rebate allowances that you’re entitled to, you may have several years’ worth of rebates owed to you. The good news is that you can claim up to four tax years worth of uniform tax back, so five years in total including the current year.

You must make your claim by the 5th of April of the current tax year.

If you don’t have receipts for earlier years, you can still claim the flat-rate allowance of £12 a year or a higher rate if you are entitled to one due to your tax band or the type of job that you do.

If claiming this tax year 2022-2023, you could claim for the following four tax years too:

  • 2021-2022
  • 2020-2021
  • 2019-2020
  • 2018-2019

Are You Eligible For A Uniform Rebate?

To qualify for a uniform tax rebate, you must be required to wear a uniform for work and have been employed in the tax year that you’re claiming a rebate for. The following points must also apply:

  • You wear a recognisable uniform that shows that you work in a job. For example, a police uniform, scrubs in a hospital, or branded clothing like a jumper or t-shirt with a logo belonging to the company that you work for, costumes for work such as children’s entertainers or mascot outfits.
  • You are required to wear the uniform when working for your employer
  • You have to purchase, clean, repair or replace the uniform yourself and the cost of doing so comes out of your own money. You cannot claim if the employer washes your uniform for you, or provides facilities for you to launder your uniform, even if you don’t use them.
  • You have paid income tax in the financial year that you want to claim the uniform rebate. A tax rebate can only be claimed if you have paid tax, if you fall under the tax payment threshold then there is no tax liability for you to reduce, which makes the claim redundant.
You are not eligible to claim the uniform tax rebate if you are self-employed or work for the armed forces but individuals falling into these categories are still able to claim the tax back for uniform costs in other ways, and this is covered in more detail later in this article.

How Are Armed Forces & Self Employed Uniform Costs Claimed?

We mentioned above that people in the armed forces and the self-employed are not eligible to claim a uniform tax rebate in the same way as those employed by other organisations.

For armed forces personnel, uniform maintenance costs are factored into your tax code meaning your tax-free personal allowance is a little higher to make up for the cost of the uniform that you need to purchase.

Self-employed people submit a self-assessment tax return which lists their profits after allowable business expenses have been deducted from their income. Uniform costs should be declared as a business expense as part of this process and you should keep receipts that support the amount you are claiming as a business expense. This means your tax liability is reduced and a specific claim doesn’t need to be made as it would be for employed people.

What Kind Of Uniforms Qualify?

Wardrobe rail full of work shirts and trousers

Whilst most people will tend to wear a particular set of clothes for work that is different to their casual attire worn when not working, this doesn’t automatically qualify you for a uniform tax rebate. Instead, there are very specific criteria that must be met regarding the uniform to be eligible for a uniform tax rebate.

  • Uniforms must be recognisable as a necessity of your job. For example, a business suit wouldn’t qualify for tax relief but a polo shirt with a company logo would, as would a lab coat or overalls.
  • Keeping specialised clothing and safety gear also counts. For example, the cost of cleaning and repairing helmets, goggles or protective gloves would qualify for tax relief as long as the cost of this isn’t already reimbursed by your employer.
  • If you sometimes wear clothes at work that are different to the clothes that you wear to work, this could qualify for the tax rebate. For example, if you are a teacher that goes to work in your normal clothes but then has to change into a sports kit to teach PE later in the day, this would be eligible for tax relief.

Jobs Eligible For Uniform Tax Rebates

While most jobs are covered by the basic uniform tax rebate, some jobs qualify for a higher rebate. The list below shows some of the sectors most likely to have a uniform, and if you fall into one of these and pay for the cost of cleaning the uniform you have to wear or replace it, then you could be due a uniform tax rebate.

  • Chefs – chef whites, aprons, hats and hair-nets
  • Hairdressers – tunics or other uniforms worn, as well as the tools you supply for the job such as your scissors or combs are all tax-deductible.
  • Mechanics – are likely to wear a boiler suit or overalls to protect their clothing
  • Police officers – are entitled to a higher flat-rate allowance
  • Security – protective clothing or clothing that is part of a uniform
  • Pilots, aircrew and cabin crew – all wear distinctive uniforms
  • Healthcare workers that pay for laundry and upkeep of their work uniforms
  • Delivery drivers – jumpers with logos and high viz safety jackets all count

How Much Is The Rebate Worth?

Pile of £20 notes

The amount that you can claim back depends on the job that you do, your tax band, and whether you choose to use the flat rate calculation or submit individual expenses for the actual amount spent on maintaining or replacing your uniform.

HMRC’s flat rate calculation estimates that it would cost most people around £60 to maintain their work clothes each year. The tax rebate on this amount will be either £12 or £24 a year depending on the tax bracket that your earnings fall into.

  • Basic rate taxpayers pay 20% tax on their earnings of £12,570 and £50,270. This group of employees are entitled to claim a flat rate uniform tax rebate of £12 a year. (That’s 20% of the £60 cost allowed for by HMRC).
  • Higher rate taxpayers pay 40% tax on their earnings between £50,2071 and £150,000. This group of employees are entitled to claim a flat rate uniform tax rebate of £24 a year. (That’s 40% of the £60 cost allowed for by HMRC).
  • To help make the process of claiming tax back as simple as possible, HMRC provides a flat rate system that offers tax back on a pre-set amount that HMRC feels is a fair representation of the amount most people would spend on the uniform. If however, you spend more than £60 a year cleaning, repairing or replacing your uniform then you will find it beneficial to claim the tax back on the actual amount spent, rather than the £60 flat rate, but you will need to submit receipts to show the costs you have incurred. The amount that you get back will still be calculated at either 20% or 40% of the total spent, depending on which tax bracket your earnings fall into. You do not need to keep receipts if you are claiming the flat-rate allowance.
Aside from tax bracket differentiators, different industries can also have different allowances, particularly those with very specific clothing needs due to safety or health needs, such as Fire Service, the NHS, and certain construction jobs. These kinds of jobs have a higher tax rebate threshold.

What Jobs Qualify For Higher Flat Rate Rebates?

Whilst lots of jobs require a uniform to be worn, some roles will require more technical uniforms, expensive or specialist outfits, which will of course incur a higher cost to maintain or replace. People working in jobs with these kinds of uniforms, therefore, have different allowances for uniform costs and a higher maximum annual allowance of £185 a year.

This means that people working in qualifying jobs that have to wear a uniform can claim a higher tax rebate of either £37 for basic rate taxpayers or £37 for higher rate taxpayers.

Jobs that have higher uniform tax rebate allowances include: 

  • Nurses have a standard allowance of £125 but can also claim tax back on the cost of work shoes, tights and socks.
  • Firefighters have a higher allowance of £80 a year meaning basic rate taxpayers can claim £16 a year and higher rate taxpayers can claim £32
  • Dental nurses and health care assistants have an allowance of £125 a year meaning basic rate taxpayers can claim £25 and higher rate taxpayers can claim £50.
  • Pilots and co-pilots have an allowance of £1,022 a year meaning that basic rate taxpayers can get £204 back and higher rate taxpayers can claim £408.80 a year.
  • Mechanics have an allowance of £120 meaning basic rate taxpayers can claim £24 rebates and its £48 for higher rate taxpayers.
You can check the full list of jobs that qualify for higher uniform tax rebates from the gov.UK website.

Summary

With many people being unaware that they are entitled to a uniform tax rebate, they are paying hundreds of pounds more than they need to over their working life when required to wear a uniform. We hope this article has given you a simple overview of what a uniform tax rebate is and how you can claim it if you are eligible.

If you have to wear a uniform for work and you cover the cost of cleaning, maintaining or replacing it yourself with no reimbursement from your employer, you are entitled to a uniform tax rebate. The amount that you can claim will depend on the type of job that you do and the rate of tax that you pay.

See the full list of flat rate uniform allowances by job role here to see what you could claim back.

Related Topics

Financial Planning for Small Business Owners
11 September 2023

Financial Planning for Small Business Owners

Read More →
Embracing Sustainability: Eco-Friendly Practices for Businesses
1 September 2023

Embracing Sustainability: Eco-Friendly Practices for Businesses

Read More →
Maximising Productivity: Time Management Hacks for Entrepreneurs
16 August 2023

Maximising Productivity: Time Management Hacks for Entrepreneurs

Read More →
What is Debt Financing?
14 August 2023

What is Debt Financing?

Read More →
What is Straight Line Depreciation and Why is it Important?
11 August 2023

What is Straight Line Depreciation and Why is it Important?

Read More →
Which Employee Benefits Are Tax Free?
10 August 2023

Which Employee Benefits Are Tax Free?

Read More →

If you enjoy reading our articles,
why not sign up for our newsletter?

We commit to just delivering high-quality material that is specially crafted for our audience.

Join Our Newsletter