Closed petition Increase uniform tax reliefs, especially for healthcare staff

Workers in various industries can claim tax relief if they clean their work uniform or spend their own money repairing or replacing equipment they need to do their job. Tax reliefs range from £60-£1,022 a year, and for healthcare staff range from £80-£185 a year.

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Uniformed workers at this current time will be laundering uniforms (including PPE) far more frequently (perhaps daily given the risks of transmitting COVID-19). Guidance on the NHS website states that “healthcare workers’ uniforms” are classified as “high risk items” in spreading infection such as coronavirus and should be laundered regularly (especially at the current time). The Government should increase these reliefs for all key workers, and in particular healthcare workers.

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Government responded

This response was given on 7 December 2020

Employees can claim tax relief on the actual costs incurred in cleaning their uniforms. They should not be incurring costs in cleaning or maintaining PPE as this is the responsibility of employers.

Employees are entitled to tax relief on costs incurred in cleaning their uniform or on repairing or replacing equipment they require to do their job. Flat rate deductions allow employees to claim this relief without the requirement to retain evidence of the expenditure by allowing them to claim relief on a standard amount (a 'flat rate') each year. The flat rate amounts are intended to represent the average annual expense incurred by that class of employee on the repair, maintenance, and replacement of work equipment, including uniforms.

Alternatively, employees can claim tax relief on the actual costs incurred in cleaning their uniforms or maintaining their equipment if they can provide evidence to substantiate the expenditure being incurred. Therefore, any employee who is incurring costs above the flat rate deduction is able to receive tax relief on the actual value of costs incurred.

The costs of cleaning or maintaining Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used by an employee in the performance of their duties are not covered by uniform expenses. This is because the cleaning of PPE is the responsibility of employers and they are responsible for bearing any costs incurred. Therefore, employees should not be incurring any costs in cleaning or maintaining PPE.

HM Treasury