Are you due money back for maintaining your uniform?

Most workers don’t think about the cost of washing their work clothes, many see it as a necessary expense, the cost of maintaining those clothes is often balanced by the fact that they can be worn in a non-work environment. But for nurses, their job requires them to wear a specific uniform, which they’re extremely unlikely to wear outside work.

As a nurse, if you’re responsible for washing, maintaining and replacing your own uniform, you could be entitled to claim some of that expense back. Many uniformed workers don’t realise that this opportunity is available, but if your job role requires you to wear a specific uniform whilst on duty and to pay for its upkeep, and if you’ve paid income tax in the year in question, then you’ll be eligible for tax relief on the amount you spend.

Although you can claim for cleaning and maintaining your uniform, you can’t claim for the initial cost of buying it. And you should check that your employer doesn’t already provide washing facilities or vouchers for the cost, if they do – even if you don’t use the facility provided – your claim won’t be considered. If your employer doesn’t provide the facilities, though, you’re entitled to make a claim for the current tax year, and years as far back as 2010/11.

If your claim is successful, there are a variety of factors that can affect the amount of money due back to you, including your job role within the industry. Workers in the healthcare sector are entitled to a flat rate expense, an amount fixed by the Treasury in 2008/9 to cover the costs of maintaining work uniforms. For a nurse, this can mean you’re entitled to tax relief on an extra £100 per year (though this can vary based on your role and responsibilities).

Receiving a flat rate expense means that you don’t have to keep track of your uniform expenses during the year, as these costs are already covered in your tax code. So, if your uniform maintenance allowance is £100, a basic rate tax payer will be eligible for a refund on 20 percent of that allowance- meaning you could be due back £20 for the year you are claiming. Include the previous four years, and you could be due as much as £80 back.

If you think you might be entitled to a uniform tax rebate, simply write to the tax office and include the details of your claim including:

  • The name of your employer, and information about cleaning services/financial assistance they provide.
  • Your job role.
  • Details of the expense you’re claiming i.e. laundry costs.
  • Your address, so they can send you a cheque for the refund (or your bank details if you would prefer the money to go into your bank).

Their address is HM Revenue and Customs, Pay As You Earn, PO Box 1970, Liverpool, L75 1WX. Or, you can visit HMRC’s website for more details.

Click here to find out more about the types of healthcare uniforms available


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