What is a P87 form?

A P87 is the code for the form ‘Tax Relief for Expenses of Employment’ and can be used to claim tax relief on work related expenses.

The form P87 should only be used by employed taxpayers under PAYE and not by self employed individuals who complete a tax return.

Do I need to fill in a P87 form?

You should complete a P87 form if:

  • You incur work expenses that are ‘allowable’ for tax relief.
  • The annual total of the work expenses you are claiming for is under £2500. If your expenses are £2500 or over, you will usually need to complete a self assessment tax return instead.

You can find out more about what you can claim for in our tax relief guide.

What expenses go on a P87?

There are a number of different expenses that can be entered on a P87 form which include:

There is also section for other expenses which can be used for everything else that doesn’t fit into one of the categories provided.

A good example would be tools bought by a mechanic who wants to claim for the full cost of the tools bought for work.

A typical example of when a P87 would be used

Mr Peters is a builder working for the same employer at different temporary construction sites throughout the UK.

In this basic example Mr Peters has to use his own car to get to each temporary site, and isn’t reimbursed for the cost of travel by his employer.

This means he can claim back mileage tax relief on the cost of his travel.

Where do I get a P87 form from?

You will find the P87 online via .GOV where you can complete it fully and submit it online directly to HMRC.

Alternatively HMRC gives you two postal options where you can either complete the P87 on screen and then print it off or you can print it off and then complete it by hand.

How to complete a P87 checklist

What you need to complete a P87 is variable depending on the type of expenses you are claiming back.

Some of the information that is fixed includes your:

  • National insurance number.
  • Employers PAYE tax reference number.
  • Employee number.
  • Employers first line of address and postcode.

Where to get details for your P87

Some information that you need to complete P87 might not be readily available but can be found easily through the downloadable HMRC app or your online personal tax account.

Numbers like your employers PAYE tax reference aren’t often needed and not something you would normally need to remember which is where the online options offered by HMRC are handy so you can complete your P87 accurately first time.

Do I have to use the P87 form to claim back my expenses?

Yes the tax office has made the P87 form compulsory if you are claiming back expenses through PAYE for the first time.

The tax office used to be able to accept a claim by way of written correspondence however from the 7th May 2022 HMRC needs to receive a P87 either online or by post.

HMRC states that they will normally reject a claim for job expenses if it isn’t received on P87.

How long does it take to complete a P87 claim?

The length of time it takes depends on the type of expense(s) you are claiming for.

If you are claiming for something that does not require evidence and HMRC does not need to reply to you asking for extra information a claim can take around 10-12 weeks.

If HMRC has to reply to you asking for additional information a P87 claim can take many months to complete.

HMRC timescales can also vary due to busier times of the year especially around the end of the tax year in April and self assessment season in January.

What evidence do I need to provide with my P87 claim?

In most cases you will need to provide supporting evidence (like receipts) to HMRC so they can complete your claim.

If you are claiming for a basic uniform cleaning allowance or a different flat rate expense evidence is usually not needed.

A claim for a more complex type of expense like business mileage or for the actual cost of tools bought for work will require proof of the expenses incurred.

You can provide your evidence either with your P87 or in a reply to an HMRC request after they have processed your P87.

P87 expenses by phone

HMRC can accept a claim for job expenses over the phone if you have had a successful claim for that expense agreed in the past and the expenses are worth less than £2500.

Do I complete a P87 if my expenses are over £2500?

HMRC asks you to not fill in a P87 if you already complete a self assessment for another reason and/or your expenses are worth £2500 or more.

The self assessment threshold of £2500 applies per tax year and not for multiple years in combination.

To register for self assessment HMRC requires you to contact them at 0300 200 3310 or you can register online at www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services.

You will then need to include your job expenses on the self assessment tax return in the relevant employment section(s) and you will be refunded any tax owed (normally to your bank account) through the self assessment system.

What if I already complete a self assessment tax return?

If you have claimed for expenses in a previous tax year meaning HMRC have asked you to complete another tax return (or you are asked to complete a tax return for a different reason) you can include your work related expenses on your tax return instead of the form P87.

In some cases where you already have a self assessment record which hasn’t been used for one or more years a tax return can be re-opened by calling HMRC directly and explaining your position.

How hard is the P87 form to complete?

The process of claiming through using a P87 form should be relatively straightforward when claiming for basic tax reliefs like flat rate expenses for washing of uniform or for professional fees into unions and professional bodies.

You may find claiming for the cost of other expenses (like mileage or for the actual cost of tools) more difficult when HMRC ask for specific evidence in a particular format to help back up your claim.

For example if you are completing a P87 for mileage and you are not reimbursed mileage by your employer HMRC expects you to send mileage records with your P87 for review.

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