claim tax relief on employment expenses

There are a lot of companies on the internet that say they can claim tax relief money back that you’ve spent on things like work uniform, tools, business travel, professional fees and subscriptions … their fee?? A percentage of your tax back!!

Well this is true, however, what most of these companies don’t tell you that you can claim these expenses yourself using a simple form called a P87 or by using the online services with HMRC.   This way you get to keep 100% of any tax you are due back.

There are certain industries that have a flat rate that you can claim which makes it even easier, if you think you might be one of these you can check here.

You must have paid tax in the year your want to claim, and you must clam within 4 years of the end of the tax year that you spent the money.

You can also claim up to 5 different jobs on one claim.

PLEASE NOTE: If your employer pays you back all of your expenses you cannot claim tax relief.

So what can you claim?

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:

  • scissors if you’re a hairdresser
  • trowels if you’re a plasterer
  • spanners if you’re a mechanic

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
  • overalls


A uniform is a set of specialised clothing that’s recognisable as identifying 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.

You can claim tax relief if you wash the uniform given to you by your employer, but you cannot if your employer provides a laundering service and you choose to wash the uniform you have been given yourself.

Vehicles you use for work

You may be able to claim tax relief if you use cars, vans, motorcycles or bicycles for work.

This does not include travelling to and from your work, unless it’s a temporary place of work.

How much you can claim depends on whether you’re using:

  • a vehicle that you’ve bought or leased with your own money
  • a vehicle owned or leased by your employer (a company vehicle)

Travel and overnight expenses

If you have to travel for your work you may be able to claim tax relief on the cost or money you’ve spent on food or overnight expenses.

You cannot claim for travelling to and from work, unless you’re travelling to a temporary place of work.

You can claim tax relief for money you’ve spent on things like:

  • public transport costs
  • hotel accommodation if you have to stay overnight
  • food and drink
  • congestion charges and tolls
  • parking fees
  • business phone calls and printing costs

Professional fees and subscriptions

You can claim tax relief on fees or subscriptions you pay to approved professional organisations – but only if you must have membership or it relates to your job.

You cannot claim tax back on fees or subscriptions for:

  • life membership subscriptions
  • fees or subscriptions you have not paid for yourself (for example, if your employer has paid for them)

Your organisation can tell you how much tax you’re allowed to claim back.

Working at home

You may be able to claim tax relief for some of the bills you have to pay because you have to work at home on a regular basis. You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home.

You can only claim for things to do with your work, for example, business telephone calls or the extra cost of gas and electricity for your work area.

You cannot claim for things that you use for both private and business use, for example, rent or broadband access.

Your employer can pay you up to £4 a week (£18 a month) to cover your additional costs if you have to work from home. You will not need to keep any records.

Still not sure if you can do it yourself?

Many people do claim themselves but if you’re unsure TI Accountancy also offers a service where we fill the form out for you for a fixed fee.

We charge £95 plus VAT per annual claim, no keeping a percentage of your tax relief!!

If you need any help or would like us to see if you can claim then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01229 813388 and ask about our P87 service.