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  • Writer's pictureJane Wu LLB ACA

Employed? How to claim tax relief on your on the job costs.

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Are you claiming everything your entitled to?

You might be able to claim tax relief if:

  • you use your own money for things that you must buy for your job

  • you only use these things for your work ( is the cost incurred "wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment")

You will only be able to claim tax relief for costs you have suffered personally. You cannot claim anything your employer has paid for or if your employer has already reimbursed you.

Neither can you claim the cost of purchasing an alternative to something your employer has given you. For example your employer has provided a laptop but you wanted a higher spec version.

What can I claim?

Working from home costs

If you have to work from home, you can claim a portion of household costs (e.g. water, electricity, insurance or broadband). You can claim the exact amount of extra cost you have incurred on these things if you can evidence it with reasonable calculations and receipts, or, a much easier option is to claim the government approved rate (£6 per week from 6th April 2020)

Uniforms, Work Clothing and Small Tools

You can claim the cost of cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist or protective clothing, small tools (e.g. scissors for a hairdresser or spanners if you are a mechanic). You cannot claim the initial cost. Claim either the actual amount, or some jobs have an agreed flat rate. Check here if your job has an agreed flat rate expense.

Vehicles used for work

If you use your own car, motorcycle or bicycle, a mileage rate is available to cover fuel, electricity, MOTs, road tax and repairs. You will need to keep records of your business mileage. Business mileage does not include travelling to and from your normal place of work (commuting).

Professional Fees and Subscriptions

Only for approved professional organisations. You can find a list here.

Travel & Overnight Expenses

This includes, e.g.

  • Public transport (planes, trains, buses etc)

  • Hotel accommodation

  • Food and drink while away (subsistence)

  • congestion charges and tolls

  • parking charges

  • business phone calls and printing while away

Other Equipment

Where you need the equipment to do your job and there is no significant private use. For example:

  • Computers

  • Printers

  • Office furniture

Substantial equipment of this type attracts capital allowances which will usually result in tax relief on the full cost. Note though that you cannot claim the cost of vehicles in this way.

How do I claim?

You can check your claim online here. You can claim direct with HMRC online, by post or by telephone - depending on the nature and amount of your claim. For larger claims you may be required to complete a self assessment tax return. A link to the online claim service and relevant address and telephone number is here.


The information contained within in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice specific to your own circumstances from your own adviser.

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