TAX BASICS

Uniform tax rebates- The best ways to use them.

Uniform tax rebates (also known as uniform benefits or HMRC uniform allowances) in the UK are a type of tax relief available to those who need to clean, repair, or replace specialised work attire. There are particular standards regarding who qualifies for it and what constitutes a “uniform,” although they are not always evident. As a result, many people are missing out on years of tax returns worth hundreds of pounds or more.

Am I eligible for a tax rebate?

To be eligible for tax relief, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • You wear a distinguishable uniform that identifies you as having specific employment, such as a branded T-shirt, nurse uniform, or police uniform. According to HMRC, a simple test would be if you were out and about wearing your work uniform and a member of the public recognised your employer due to logos or a corporate name on your uniform. However, the basic clothes with no logos that you exclusively wear for work may also count — so it’s worth a shot.
  • Your employer requires you to wear them while working. This means you have no choice except to purchase it.
  • You must buy, clean, repair, or replace it yourself. However, you cannot make a claim if your employer washes your equipment, offers facilities for doing so (even if you do not use them), or pays you to do so.
  • You paid income tax in the tax year for which you are claiming. Because this is a benefit to lower your tax responsibility, you cannot claim if you paid no tax in the year you are claiming.

How much can I get as uniform tax rebates in the UK?

For uniform upkeep, the typical flat-rate expense allowance is £60. You can recover back the amount of tax you would have paid on that £60 if you claim a uniform tax refund. As a result, if you are a basic-rate taxpayer, you will receive a rebate of 20% of £60, i.e £12. Higher-rate taxpayers will receive a refund of £24. Because £60 is a flat rate, you do not need to record and report the specific amounts spent.

In addition to the current year’s allowance, you can backdate your claim for up to four tax years (currently 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20, and 2020/21) – for a total of five years. If you were a basic-rate taxpayer who wore a uniform throughout each of those tax years, you might make the following claim:

  • 2021/22 – £12
  • 2020/21 – £12
  • 2019/20 – £12
  • 2018/19 – £12
  • 2017/18 – £12

A basic-rate taxpayer can get a rebate worth £60 from a successful claim, i.e. backdated to 2017/18.

How to claim your uniform tax rebates in the UK?

The uniform tax rebate from HMRC is not a tax exemption. But instead, it is a refund. This means that you have already been paying the tax as an employee. You can claim back the amount that costs you to buy and care for your uniform anytime during the year. As mentioned earlier, you can only claim the rebate if you have made the tax payment. If your employment qualifies, you have the option of filing a flat-rate claim or claiming for the actual amount spent. If you prefer the latter, you must have retained all of your receipts.

How Long Does It Take to complete your uniform tax claim back?

Technically, It only takes a few minutes to enter your uniform tax claim back. However, it depends on how busy HMRC is once it’s been submitted to us; typically, it takes them between 4 and 12 weeks to respond to a tax rebate claim. We’ll send your claim to HMRC by courier right away.

How Far Can You Claim Back For Your Tax Rebate?

Your uniform tax claim back can backdate to the previous four tax years. Also, you can claim for a portion of the current tax year that has already passed. You will receive a lump-sum refund for the past years from the HMRC. The remainder, as well as any future tax relief, will be paid in your wages.

Can I still claim for uniform tax rebate if my employer pays for my laundry or provides facilities for it?

No, you cannot claim back tax on costs if you are not paying the bill yourself.
There’s another thing you need to know. Assume your employer has equipped you with a laundry room, but you dislike using it for some reason. In any case, the fact that those facilities exist indicates that you are not eligible for a uniform tax rebate. Similarly, if you have already received payment for your expenses, you cannot make a claim for them.

Another key factor to remember is that employers will occasionally negotiate for tax relief on your behalf. You obviously can’t claim it again in those instances. However, everyone does not realise that the arrangements are already in place when they make their claim. Thankfully, the HMRC is aware of how this might occur. The worst that might happen is that HMRC sends you a courteous letter explaining why your claim was denied. Obviously, it’s still preferable to avoid making the error in the first place.

I did not claim my previous year’s tax refund. Have I lost my opportunity?

No, not always. According to HMRC rules, you can get your money back for up to four years, so it may not be too late. Even if you’ve never considered filing a claim before, you may be able to recoup what the HMRC owes you. A whole four-year tax refund can be a good amount, so it’s not something you want to pass up.

Do I have to keep my receipts?

The paperwork required for your tax refund claim is based upon what you’re claiming. Most individuals will not need to keep anything specific for flat rate uniform tax rebates. The flat rates offered by HMRC do not demand a lot of recordkeeping. You must still know roughly how much you spent in a year. If your costs are much higher than HMRC’s estimations, reliable records will assist you to prove it. Keeping paperwork and breaking down all of your spendings in a tax refund application might be far more difficult than using HMRC’s flat rates. But to claim for all the eligible expenses, it could be your best option.

Sidharth Bharthan Menon
CEO, taxtotal​