Guidance

Check if you can claim flat rate expenses for uniforms, work clothing and tools

Find out what work-related expenses you can claim tax relief on for clothing and tools if you're an employee.

Overview

You can claim tax relief on flat rate expenses if you’re employed by someone and you:

  • clean your work uniform
  • spend your own money on repairing or replacing equipment you need to do your job

If your employer pays all of your expenses you cannot claim any tax relief.

Flat rate expenses allow you to claim tax relief for a standard amount (a ‘flat rate’) each tax year. The amount you can claim depends on your job and the industry you work in.

If you make a flat rate expenses claim you do not need to keep a record of what you have spent or any receipts.

If you want to claim the exact amount you have spent on expenses you must keep receipts and make a claim by post.

There are different rules for expenses if you’re self-employed.

What tax relief is

Tax relief reduces the amount of tax you have to pay.

The amount of tax relief you get will not be the same as the amount of expenses you have claimed for. You’ll get tax relief based on the rate at which you pay tax.

For example, if you can claim £60 and paid tax at a rate of 20% in that year, you’ll get tax relief of £12.

What you can claim tax relief on

You can claim tax relief on work expenses for the cost of:

  • cleaning your uniform
  • repairing or replacing your small tools (for example scissors if you’re a hairdresser, trowels if you’re a plasterer and spanners if you’re a mechanic)
  • cleaning, replacing and repairing your specialist or protective clothing (for example hard hats, protective boots and overalls)

What a uniform is

A uniform is a set of specialised clothing that’s recognisable as identifying someone as having a particular occupation, for example nurse or police uniforms.

A uniform is not clothing of a similar design or colour that you must wear for work (for example, a bank who wants to promote its corporate image by requiring all counter staff to wear a shirt or blouse in their corporate colours).

You can claim tax relief if you wash the uniform given to you by your employer, unless your employer provides a laundering service and you choose not to use it and wash your uniform yourself.

Only nurses and midwives can claim for replacing shoes, socks and underwear.

You cannot claim tax relief for everyday clothing, even if you wear it for work.

Check if you can make an expenses claim

Check if you can make a claim using the online service, or the ‘List of industries and occupations’ table.

Use the online service

You’ll then be able to make a claim online if you’re eligible.

Use the ‘List of industries and occupations’ table

  1. Check the ‘List of industries and occupations’ table below to see if the industry you work in and your occupation is shown.

  2. If your industry and occupation are not shown you can claim a deduction of £60, if your industry and occupation are shown check how much you can claim.

  3. If your employer pays towards your expenses deduct the amount they pay to get the figure you can claim.

  4. You can then make a claim by post, or enter the amount in box 18 of the SA102 page if you need to send us a Self Assessment tax return.

List of industries and occupations

This table lists the industries, occupations and how much tax relief you can claim.

Industry Occupation Deduction £
Agriculture all workers 100  
Airlines pilots, co-pilots, helicopter pilots and uniformed flight deck crew 1,022  
  cabin crew - stewards and stewardesses 720  
Aluminium a. continual casting operators, process operators, de-dimplers, driers, drill punchers, dross unloaders, firemen (engaged to light and maintain furnaces), furnace operators and their helpers, leaders, mould-men, pourers, remelt department labourers and roll flatteners 140  
  b. cable hands, case makers, labourers, mates, truck drivers and measurers and storekeepers 80  
  c. apprentices 60  
  d. all other workers 120  
Armed forces all ranks in the:
- army
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Marines
100  
  - Royal Navy 80  
Banks and building societies uniformed doormen and messengers 60  
Brass and copper braziers, coppersmiths, finishers, fitters, moulders, turners and all other workers 120  
Building a. joiners and carpenters 140  
  b. cement works, roofing felt and asphalt labourers 80  
  c. labourers and navvies 60  
  d. all other workers 120  
Building materials a. stone masons 120  
  b. tilemakers and labourers 60  
  c. all other worker 80  
Clothing a. lacemakers, hosiery bleachers, dyers, scourers and knitters, knitwear bleachers and dyers 60  
  b. all other workers 60  
Constructional engineering (includes buildings, shipyards, bridges and roads) a. blacksmiths and their strikers, burners, caulkers, chippers, drillers, erectors, fitters, holders up, markers off, platers, riggers, riveters, rivet heaters, scaffolders, sheeters, template workers, turners and welders 140  
  b. banksmen, labourers, shop-helpers, slewers and straighteners 80  
  c. apprentices and storekeepers 60  
  d. all other workers 100  
Electrical and electricity supply a. workers incurring laundry costs only 60  
  b. all other workers 120  
Trades ancillary to engineering a. pattern makers 140  
  b. labourers, supervisory and unskilled workers 80  
  c. apprentices and storekeepers 60  
  d. motor mechanics in garage repair shop 120  
  e. all other workers 120  
Fire service uniformed fire fighters and fire officers 80  
Food all workers 60  
Forestry all workers 100  
Glass all workers 80  
Healthcare staff in the National Health Service, private hospitals and nursing homes a. ambulance staff on active service 185  
  b. nurses, midwives, chiropodists, dental nurses, occupational, speech, physiotherapists and other therapists, healthcare assistants, phlebotomists and radiographers
shoes and stockings or tights allowance (where everyone is required to wear the same colour or style)
125


12 shoes
6 tights or stockings
 
  c. plaster room orderlies, hospital porters, ward clerks, sterile supply workers, hospital domestics and hospital catering staff 125  
  d. laboratory staff, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants 80  
  e. uniformed ancillary staff - maintenance workers, grounds staff, drivers, parking attendants and security guards, receptionists and other uniformed staff 80  
Heating a. pipe fitters and plumbers 120  
  b. coverers, laggers, domestic glaziers, heating engineers and all their mates 120  
  c. all gas workers and all other workers 100  
Iron mining a. fillers, miners and underground workers 120  
  b. all other workers 100  
Iron and steel a. day labourers, general labourers, stockmen, timekeepers, warehouse staff and weighmen 80  
  b. apprentices 60  
  c. all other workers 140  
Leather a. curriers (wet workers), fellmongering workers and tanning operatives (wet) 80  
  b. all other workers 60  
Particular engineering (work on commercial basis in a factory or workshop producing components such as wire, springs, nails and locks) a. pattern makers 140  
  b. chainmakers, cleaners, galvanisers, tinners and wire drawers in the wire drawing industry and toolmakers in the lock making industry 120  
  c. apprentices and storekeepers 60  
  d. all other workers 80  
Police force a. ranks of police officers up to and including chief inspector 140  
  b. community support officers including Metropolitan Police 140  
  c. other police employees (but not special constables) 60  
Precious metals all workers 100  
Printing a. letterpress section-electrical engineers (rotary presses), electrotypers, ink and roller makers, machine minders (rotary), maintenance engineers (rotary presses) and stereotypers 140  
  b. bench hands (periodical and bookbinding section), compositors (letterpress section), readers (letterpress section) telecommunications and electronic section wire room operators, warehousemen (paper box making section) 60  
  c. all other workers 100  
Prisons uniformed prison officers 80  
Public service - docks and inland waterways a. dockers, dredger drivers and hopper steerers 80  
  b. all other workers 60  
Public service - public transport a. garage hands including cleaners 80  
  b. conductors and drivers 60  
Quarrying all workers 100  
Railways See the appropriate category for craftsmen (for example engineers, vehicles) all other workers 100  
Seamen carpenters
a. passenger liners
165  
  b. cargo vessels, tankers, coasters and ferries 140  
Shipyards a. blacksmiths and their strikers, boilermakers, burners, carpenters, caulkers, drillers, furnacemen (platers) holders up, fitters, platers, plumbers, riveters, sheet iron workers, shipwrights, tubers and welders 140  
  b. labourers 80  
  c. apprentices and storekeepers 60  
  d. all other workers 100  
Textiles and textile printing a. carders, carding engineers, overlookers and technicians in spinning mills 120  
  b. all other workers 80  
Vehicles a. builders, railway vehicle repairers and railway wagon lifters 140  
  b. railway vehicle painters, letterers, and builders’ and repairers’ assistants 80  
  c. all other workers 60  
Wood and furniture a. carpenters, cabinetmakers, joiners, wood carvers and woodcutting machinists 140  
  b. artificial limb makers (other than in wood), organ builders and packaging case makers 120  
  c. coopers not providing their own tools, labourers, polishers and upholsterers 60  
  d. all other workers 100  

Get more information

Find out more information about claiming tax relief for your job expenses.

Published 1 January 2015
Last updated 1 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. The flat rate expenses you can claim tax relief on for uniforms, work clothing and tools have been updated.

  2. Guidance on how much tax relief the police force can claim has been updated.

  3. First published.