Income tax for employees Tax-deductible expenses

Construction workers in yellow hard hats on construction site

You may be able to claim tax relief on essential uniform and tools 

You may be able to claim tax relief on expenses incurred ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ in the performance of the duties of your employment. 

This applies both where;

  • You have paid the expenses yourself without any reimbursement
  • Your employer reimbursed the expense but you were taxed on the reimbursed amount.

How to claim tax relief on expenses

If you are eligible for any reduction, your tax code will normally be adjusted to reduce the amount you pay. To arrange this, you should contact HMRC.

However, if you have to fill a out self-assessment tax return, you must use this to claim tax relief on expenses. You must also use a self-assessment tax return if you're claiming over £2,500.

Find out more: Which? tax calculator – calculate your personal allowances and deductions 

Expenses you might claim

Business travel 

You can claim on unreimbursed mileage if you use your own car or a company car for work, up to the HMRC-approved mileage allowance (45p a mile for the first 10,000 miles, 25p a mile after that). If you have been reimbursed less than this, you can claim relief on the difference between what your employer paid and the HMRC rate. 

You can't claim tax relief on mileage used commuting between your home and your normal workplace, but you might be able to claim on journeys to a temporary workplace. 

Business trip expenses 

You can claim on reasonable expenses encountered as a result of business trips, including; 

  • public transport costs
  • overnight accommodation
  • food and drink, 
  • congestion charges and tolls 
  • parking fees
  • business phone calls, fax and photocopying costs

Uniform and equipment 

Protective clothing, uniform and other work-related items necessary for your job are eligible for tax relief. 

In some cases, HMRC has agreed that workers in particular occupations can deduct a flat-rate allowance – for which HMRC has a list of clothing expenses you can claim. You may still be able to claim a standard annual amount of £60 in tax relief if your occupation isn’t listed.

You can't claim tax relief on the initial cost of buying work uniform. 

Membership fees

Fees and subscriptions to some professional bodies are eligible for tax relief, if membership is necessary to do your job.

Working at home

You may be able to claim tax relief on some of the expenses incurred as a result of working at home regularly, such as heating, lighting and telephone costs.

For claims over £4 a week (£18 a month), you'll need to provide evidence of what you have spent. 

See HMRC helpsheet HS207 Non-taxable payments or benefits for employees for further details on tax-deductible expenses.

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Last updated:

April 2016

Updated by:

Joe Elvin 

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.