HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

EIM32480 - Other expenses: clothing: the cost of upkeep and replacement of uniform and protective clothing

A deduction can be permitted for the cost of upkeep, replacement and repair of protective clothing or uniforms, see EIM32465, where the duties require it to be worn and the employee must bear the cost. If the expense is partly met by the employer, for example by an untaxed allowance in lieu of uniform, only the net cost to the employee is deductible.

No deduction can be permitted for the cost of upkeep, replacement and repair of ordinary clothing. In the case of Ward v Dunn (52TC517) a surveyor was not permitted a deduction for the cost of wear and tear and cleaning his clothing, even though the nature of his job put him to abnormally large expense in this respect. The costs were not incurred wholly and exclusively in the performance of his duties, see EIM31660.

Where the cost of upkeep of clothing is deductible you should allow a reasonable deduction for any necessary cost of cleaning that the employee actually incurs. This should not include notional amounts, for example an estimate of the employee’s labour costs in carrying out the work at home. If the cleaning is carried out as part of the ordinary domestic wash the extra cost of cleaning work clothing should be small. EIM32485 suggests amounts that may be accepted as reasonable.

If the employer provides protective clothing but does not provide facilities for its cleaning a similar deduction may be made.

A deduction cannot be made for the cost of upkeep, replacement and repair of personal protective equipment (PPE) where the employer is legally obliged for health and safety reasons to provide or reimburse costs incurred in purchasing PPE, see EIM32470.

Flat rate expenses for cleaning costs have been negotiated for operatives in particular industries, see EIM32700. Flat rate expenses have been negotiated separately for nurses and other health care workers, see EIM67210and EIM66790. Where there is a national agreement for a particular industry, a deduction can be allowed in the amounts outlined at EIM32712. The amounts suggested at EIM32485are acceptable where there is not a national agreement in place.

This guidance is illustrated by example EIM32481 and example EIM32482.