HMRC internal manual

VAT Input Tax

VIT43800 - Specific issues: clothing

Normally a person is responsible for their own clothing at work. A claim that a high standard of dress is required for business reasons does not make the VAT incurred input tax. See Hill (JK) and Mansell (SJ) (t/a J L Hill & Co) and Brown (BJ) at VIT64380.

The VAT paid on uniforms or protective clothing worn in the performance of their duties by someone who is registered for VAT is input tax. It is also input tax if the uniforms or protective clothing is worn by their employees.

Perks are an accepted business expense. So if an employer decides to provide their employees with clothing (other than uniforms or protective clothing) the VAT incurred is input tax. However, a supply of goods by the employer will have taken place if the employee owns the clothes. The guidance on VAT Supply and Consideration tells you more about when output tax is due. It also tells you about the value of that supply (see VATSC Supply and consideration).

The wig, gown and bands a barrister has to wear in court are considered to be a uniform and the VAT incurred is input tax. It is also a court requirement that barristers wear dark clothing. For example, male barristers may wear striped trousers, a black jacket and a waistcoat with a white wing-collar and a female barrister a dark suit and a white blouse. The VAT may be deducted as input tax if a barrister says that this clothing has only been bought because they have to attend court.

The VAT on clothing used solely as stage costumes is input tax. Ordinary clothing worn by an entertainer or TV personality will usually be worn privately as well. When this happens an output tax charge will be due (see VIT25000).