How to save on tax in the UK
If we work in the UK, we have available a variety of discounts. One of the less known of them is the refund for washing clothes at home. If your employer does not wash our workwear at his own facility, we must do it ourselves. And the British government can do it for us.
How much reimbursement can we get?
The first thing we should know is obviously what tax refund in the UK we can receive. The standard cost of washing workwear is, according to the British government, 60 pounds. The expenditure on clothes is treated in the UK as a cost of revenue. So we don’t get back the entire amount, but only part of it – according to our tax threshold.
In 2015, I wrote about the tax return for washing workwear, but I decided to give this more detailed presentation, because many Poles in the UK do not use it and it is very easily recovered money.
Most often it is 20 percent. So if we use average FREA, we can get 12 pounds each year. Since we can apply for a refund of the current year and up to four years back, we are able to get a total of £ 60 (five times £ 12 each year). And in that case, our income tax threshold will increase in this case.
People, who have different tax thresholds may get more – up to £ 56 each year. These 60 pounds is a standard amount for most professions. However, there are jobs that the British government treats slightly differently. For example, the cost of washing seamen uniforms is up to 165 pounds. However, the British government recognizes that the cost of washing ambulance service uniforms is as much as 180 pounds.
The amounts of reimbursements are quite varied and depend on the scope of our responsibilities. For example, if we work in public transport in the maintenance department, we spend £80 a year for washing clothes, but if we work as a driver or conductor, we only can get 60 pounds. The British government also treats different types of forces differently. Army and Air Force soldiers can receive up to £100, but the Navy – only £80.
The full list is available here: ttps://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim32712.
If we don’t like the solution of receiving a permanent tax refund we may use another option. This allows us to receive reimbursements for the cost of laundry or minor repairs of our uniforms. We must remember, however, that in this case, all bills must be presented to the taxpayer.
Who can get reimbursement for washing clothes at home?
We do not have to be soldiers or bus drivers to get a refund. According to a law in the UK, everyone who must appear in “uniform” in his work can apply for tax exemption.
And, there isn’t precisely definition of uniform. It's just a recognizable outfit, which we are obliged to wear while performing our duties. This may of course be an airline pilot uniform, but also a corporate t-shirt, where as a barista we prepare coffee in a cafe or restaurant.
However, the condition is that this is the costume that our employer requires. So if we are in company outfit on our own initiative, we cannot get refund. We cannot apply for a refund for washing clothes at home when the employer provides us with the right equipment, our own clothes or simply pay us for laundry. If you already sign up as a person who gets certain refund, then in the future it will be automatically granted to us.
If you want to know other methods to recover the paid tax, then you must know what Marriage Allowance is
How to apply for refund?
If we apply for refund for the first time, we must of course go to HM Revenue & Customs. We can do it via the internet as well as traditional mail. If we choose this second option, it is best to write about the problem on the envelope (eg. we can write “Repayment Claim”) – it should speed up the process.
The HMRC will of course ask us for all the necessary data, including the sector for which we work, the exact name of the profession, and data of the employer. We will also have to also provide a NIN number. The whole procedure is not particularly complicated, and when problems arise, we can always call HMRC (0300 200 3300).
We must remember, however, that this particular tax refund in the UK applies only to laundry and maintenance of clothes. It does not concern, for example, the cost of buying this garment. But that does not mean that, and for this purpose we cannot get refund – there are a whole series of other tax exemptions for professionals that can cover it.
If you want more details to answer the question of how to save on tax in the UK then check out the government website: www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/uniforms-work-clothing-and-tools
NOTE: I present private opinions and I am not responsible for the readers' decisions. I always try to present current information but may no longer be up to date. Therefore, before making a decision, please verify them and consult a licensed financial adviser.
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