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Claiming a tax deduction for employment expenses

​​You can claim expenses against your employment income if they're work related (wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your employment) and you have to pay for them yourself.

If you're claiming the actual cost you'll need to keep the receipts.

Allowable expenses

Protective clothing

You can claim a deduction for the cost of replacing, repairing and cleaning specialist or protective clothing, for example hard hats, protective overalls and boots.

Uniforms

You can claim for the cleaning or replacement of a uniform if it identifies you as having a particular occupation, for example, nurse or police uniforms.

It doesn't include employees who wear clothing of a similar design or colour, for example bank staff who wear clothing in corporate colours.

Small tools

You can claim a deduction for replacing or repairing small tools of your job, for example a carpenter may need to buy their own work tools.

Flat rate deduction

If you spend money on clothing or tools for your job you can claim up to a standard flat rate instead of the actual cost. If you want to claim the actual cost you'll need to keep the receipts for three years as evidence of your claim.

If your occupation isn't listed you may be able to claim a flat rate deduction of £100 for the cost of replacement and upkeep of protective or specialist clothing.  

​Occupation​Purpose of expenseFlat rate claim (£)
​Carpenters, electricians and other people employed in the building trade​Replacing protective clothing and small tools​250
​Chefs​Cost of cleaning and replacing uniform and replacing small tools​250
​Farmworkers and other people in the agriculture industryCost of cleaning and replacing protective clothing​250
​Fire officers​Cost of uniform cleaning​100
​Hotel employees (porters, cleaners, domestics)​Cost of uniform cleaning​100
​Hairdressers and other people in the beauty industry​Replacement tools​100
​Kitchen porters and other kitchen staff​Cleaning and replacing protective clothing​100
​Nurse and health care assistants​Cost of cleaning uniform and replacing shoes and tights​250
​Police​Cleaning costs not covered by the employer​50
​Pre-school child care nursery assistants​Cost of uniform cleaning​100
​Prison officers​Cost of uniform cleaning​100

Subscriptions

If you have to pay for a subscription to an approved professional body which is work related you can claim this as a deduction. Approved professional bodies can be found here:

List of approved professional bodies on HMRC website

Course and examination fees

If you are obliged by the terms of your employment contract to achieve success in a professional qualification for your current role and you have to pay for it yourself, you can make a claim for the expense.

If your employer pays towards the costs of any expense

If your employer pays in full for the expense you can't claim it as a deduction. If they pay towards it, this has to be deducted from the amount you're claiming.

Motoring expenses

If you use your own vehicle for work (this doesn't include commuting), you can claim for a proportion of the car's total running expenses. If your employer reimburses you for any costs, deduct this from your claim.

Download motor expenses claim form (size 71kb)

Flat rate mileage allowance

To simplify motoring expenses you can claim a flat rate expense which covers wear and tear, fuel, and servicing. 

You need to be able to provide evidence of how you have calculated your business mileage if we ask for it, which must not include any private mileage including commuting to and from your place of work.

Any contribution from your employer towards the expense must also deducted from your claim.

​Cars and vans​Motorbikes
​60 pence per mile​30 pence per mile

Example of a flat rate mileage claim 

Jane is employed as a nanny. Her duties include school pick ups and outings with the children. A car is not provided and Jane uses her own. The employer gives Jane £20 per week towards petrol. (This is not part of Jane's taxable income.) 

Jane keeps a weekly record of the mileage for travelling from her employer's home for school pick ups and trips to playgroups, the park and the beach. Travelling to and from Jane's home to work (the employer's home) is not included. The expense claim looks like this:

​Work miles for the year (from Jane's records)​Flat rate
​3,840 miles​60p
​Mileage x flat rate (3,840 x 60p) =​£2,304
​Less employer's petrol contribution for each week worked (£20 48) ​(£960)
​Mileage claim (this is the amount Jane claims on her tax return)​£1,344

Expenses you can’t claim

These are examples of expenses you can't claim as a deduction against your income:

  • general everyday work clothing including suits
  • travelling expenses between your home and your place of employment, including parking fees
  • the cost of employing another person to perform household duties so that that you can work 
  • any fees paid to an employment agency to help you find work
  • any costs you incur to renew or obtain new employment or promotion including course and exam fees     
  • subscriptions to most trade unions
​​
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