What is classed as uniform for tax relief purposes?

HMRC’s rules about uniform are very specific; the employee must be obliged to wear it as part of their contract, pay for it and that others would see their clothing as a uniform.

“A uniform in this context means a set of clothing of a specialised nature that is recognisable as a uniform and is intended to identify its wearer as having a particular occupation.” (EIM 32475)

This is easily identifiable for taxpayers like nurses, police officers and fire fighters. It gets a little bit trickier when it comes to other types of uniforms.

Uniform is:

  • Clothing that is branded with a company name and/or logo is considered a uniform by HMRC.
  • Anything that fits the above description.

Uniform might be:

  • Clothing that has a “permanent and conspicuous badge” affixed to it.
  • Formal evening drees that is a requirement of some jobs; like waiters wearing dinner jackets.

This is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Uniform is not:

  • A required style or colour dress code; like a hairdressing salon that asks its staff to wear all black.
  • Any items that are worn that are no directly part of the uniform; like under garments, footwear, socks/tights
  • Ordinary clothes with the addition of a company, detachable badge

Example 1: Retail

Staff have to wear clothes from the current range available in the shop, at their own expense. These must be in the company colours of red, black and white. They also add a pinned badge which displays the company logo and their name, when they are in store.

None of these items are allowable for uniform tax relief because they would not be recognised as a uniform by someone “in the street”.

Example 2: Cabin Crew

An airline crew have a uniform expectation of: black skirt/trousers and red jacket embroidered with company name and logo, white shirt, scarf/tie carrying the company logo, black socks and shoes, skin coloured tights.

In this instance, the crew can claim uniform tax relief for the skirt/trousers, jacket and scarf/tie because they carry the company’s name and/or logo.

Anyone “in the street” would know they are wearing a work uniform. The shirt, socks/tights and shoes are not allowable.

Claiming your uniform relief

If you think you qualify you can start your claim by filling in our easy contact form below or you can call us on 01228 520477. Our experts will review your circumstances to make sure you get back all of the tax you are owed in the quickest time.

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