The Ministry of Defence has announced that from 2014, serving officers of HM Forces will get a tax free allowance to pay for the cost of cleaning their uniforms.
Some employees, who are required to wear ‘special’ clothing or uniforms in their jobs, are entitled to tax relief for the costs of its upkeep. However, until today this has never applied to armed forces personnel.
Whilst combat gear/military dress etc is laundered at the public expense – other standard issue wear isn’t, such as the ‘off duty’ clothing soilders are required to wear to adhere to the on camp dress code
Serving officers of HM Forces generally receive an annual tax-free allowance which covers some of the costs they are obliged to incur in maintaining such clothing. However, this is not available to junior ranks. For soldiers using the camp laundry facilities – at £1 a wash or £1 a tumble dry for example – costs can easily add up to £20 or more a month.
This is considerable, so the question of some form of relief via the tax system for laundry expenses has been under debate for some time. .
However not all employers will reimburse an employee’s expenses, or provide free laundry facilities – so we thought it a good opportunity to recap the tax relief rules that apply to everyone else.
There is a flat rate system for the laundry costs of uniforms or protective clothing, which is useful as you don’t have to keep a record of all the individual amounts you spend (this does not stop an employee claiming relief for the actual cost if that is higher – although larger deductions won’t be allowed without adequate evidence of the expenditure incurred.)
For some occupations, the flat rate can be £140 a year (e.g. police) however for most employees who are required to wear protective clothing uniforms, a deduction of around £60 is suggested per year (this seems small, but remember that typically the cleaning will be carried out as part of the employee's ordinary domestic wash, therefore the extra cost of cleaning work clothing should be small).
Despite being able to claim retrospectively for a number of years, the rebate amounts aren’t huge. But it will just all depend on your circumstances – e.g. a basic rate paying food factory worker would only be due back £48 whereas a higher rate tax paying plumber could be due back nearly £200 – so worth doing!
Don’t forget, you may also be entitled to a UK tax refund if;
• You arrive or leave theUKduring the tax year.
• You work less than the complete tax year.
• You’ve been working on a casual basis.
• You've had more than one job through the tax year.
• You are a student, working in the holidays or part time.
If you would like to find out the flat rate for your particular occupation or think you might be due a tax refund on your employment income for some of the other reasons listed, contact your nearest Taxback.com office, visit our website, or talk to us in live chat.