Job expenses for uniforms, work clothing and tools

Find out what flat rate expenses you can claim tax relief on by checking the standard amounts to cover clothing and tools.

Job expenses

Flat rate expenses, or work-related expenses, are a kind of tax relief you get if you spend money on equipment for your job. They’re called flat rate expenses because you can either claim a standard flat rate or the actual cost. If you want to claim the actual amount you’ll need to keep receipts.

You can claim tax relief on expenses for:

  • small tools
  • protective clothing needed for your work
  • uniforms

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

Small tools

You can claim tax relief for the cost of replacing or repairing small tools, for example, hairdressers might need to buy their own scissors.

Protective clothing

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


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

It does not include employees who wear clothing of a similar design or colour, for example, a bank who wants to promote its corporate image by requiring all counter staff to wear a shirt or blouse in the corporate colours. Only nurses and midwives can claim for replacing shoes, socks and underwear.

If your employer pays towards the costs

If any part of the expense is paid by your employer, this should be deducted from the agreed amount.

How much tax relief you can claim

Occupations that aren’t listed

If your industry or occupation isn’t listed, you may be able to claim tax relief on a standard £60 allowance per year for the cost of upkeep and replacement of specialist or protective clothing.

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 Marines
  - 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)

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
  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  
Published 1 January 2015
Last updated 4 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Guidance on how much tax relief the police force can claim has been updated.
  2. First published.