Are you able to claim for business clothing as a genuine business expense? Well, when you are running your own company, you will almost certainly buy clothes to wear for work. What’s more, when are you able to claim for these as part of your business expenses? We discuss here a few useful things to know when it comes to claiming for clothing in your business.
Although you may be able to claim for business clothing in some instances, two other expenses that are often missed by contractors are Trivial Benefits and the Annual Event (Christmas Party).
There are also certain rules to follow if you plan to make company donations or give business gifts.
Is the clothing part of an everyday wardrobe
When considering if you can claim for business clothing, HMRC take their basic rule from the case of a lady barrister, who tried to claim tax relief on the dark suits she bought to wear for court appearances. They did not let her claim the tax relief, because she could have worn those suits on occasions that did not relate to her work. Also, because the rules say that clothing, by definition, has a `dual-purpose.’
Therefore, any clothing that is, or could be, part of an “everyday wardrobe,” cannot receive tax relief.
The next four points are some clothing that HMRC say are specifically allowable.
Is the business clothing part of a uniform
Another thing to consider when you are looking at if you can claim for business clothing is you may have to purchase a uniform for work. If you do have to do this, it clearly shows what you do. In this case, you can claim the uniform as a business expense, and you will receive tax relief.
An example would be that of a uniform for a self-employed nurse.
You cannot, however, claim tax relief on any clothing other than your uniforms, such as shoes or undergarments.
Is the clothing a form of protective clothes
You are allowed to claim for the cost of protective clothing when you claim for business clothing. For example, if you are a builder and you buy a helmet and protective footwear to wear on site.
You cannot claim for other clothing such as trousers and a shirt as those will be part of your everyday wardrobe. It is only the protective clothing itself that you can claim.
Business clothing / costumes for entertainers
If you are a musician, actor or another entertainer, and the clothes that you buy are a costume, or “acquired for a stage, film or TV performance.” In this case, you can claim tax relief on these.
Wearing an evening dress / outfit for work
When looking at if we can claim for business clothing, HMRC gives the example of a waiter who has to wear an evening dress, including a tailcoat for work. In this case, this is not part of an `everyday wardrobe,’ so you cannot claim this.
Please be careful. The cost of buying or hiring evening dress for a business function such as an awards ceremony would not receive tax relief. This difference is because attending these functions is not necessary for you to do your job, whereas, for the waiter who is serving you, it is a key part of his job.
When considering if we can claim for business clothing, this is one of those areas where it is not always clear what you can claim.
Have a read of my article covering tax tips for contractors (this is a member only article and you can read it if you sign up as a member)
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on