Uniforms, work clothing and tools: claiming back tax for your work expenses

2 min read
March 20, 2024

In today’s cost of living crisis, any kind of extra financial support is vital. Yet so many UK workers remain unaware that they may be entitled to claim tax relief on the cost of work clothing and tools. 

In this guide, we’ll explain what you may be eligible for and how to apply. It is so easy, and you may get back some substantial costs. 

What am I eligible to claim for?

This tax relief scheme enables you to claim back tax for some expenses related to your job. This includes the costs of:

  • Cleaning, repairing or replacing a uniform or specialist clothing 
  • Repairing or replacing small tools you need to do your job

Uniform or specialist clothing

HMRC define a uniform as “a set of clothing that identifies you as having a certain occupation.” This includes a whole variety of professions, from nurses and physios, to waste disposal workers and firefighters.

You may also be able to claim for specialist clothing you need for work, even if it does not identify you as having a certain occupation. This would apply to items such as overalls, safety boots or specialist gloves.

There are, however, a few exceptions. HMRC state that you cannot claim tax relief for:

  • The initial cost of buying clothing for work
  • The costs of cleaning, repairing or replacing everyday clothing you wear for work (even if you must wear a certain design or colour)
  • The cost of laundering your uniform or specialist clothing if your employer provides a laundering service, and you choose not to use it

Tools and equipment

You can claim for the costs of repairing or replacing small tools you need to do your job. On the HMRC website they give the examples of scissors or an electric drill. 

However, there are some key exceptions. 

First, you cannot claim tax relief for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If your job requires you to use PPE your employer should either:

  • Give you PPE free of charge
  • Ask you to buy it and reimburse you the costs

How much can I claim?

There are two ways of benefitting from this tax relief scheme.

First, you can make a claim for the actual amount you’ve spent – in which case you’ll need to provide receipts. 

Second, you can make a claim for an agreed fixed amount, what is sometimes called a ‘flat rate expense’ or ‘flat rate deduction’. You’ll need to check if your job has an agreed flat rate expense.

You can claim for this tax year and the 4 previous tax years.

How to submit a claim

How you make a claim depends on whether you’re claiming the actual amount you’ve spent or an agreed fixed amount. 

To claim the actual amount, you’ll need to make a claim by post using a P87 form and submit your receipts with the form.

To claim an agreed fixed amount, you’ll need to go via the form at the bottom of this HMRC webpage.

And if you complete a Self Assessment tax return, you must claim through your tax return instead.


If you have any thoughts on this topic, or any other consumer issues you would like us to cover, feel free to get in touch with us at .

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