HMRC have been encouraging healthcare workers to make claims for uniform expenses. The process is relatively simple. This is a short guide on how healthcare workers can go about this.

Healthcare workers, nurses and care home workers who clean their uniforms can claim the cleaning costs, where their employers do not provide a laundering service.

You can claim the flat rate set by HMRC for the healthcare industry. See the table below for the rates agreed for categories of healthcare workers.  You do not need to keep receipts to be eligible to make this claim. Most healthcare workers can claim £125 per year. Ambulance crew can claim £185 per year.

The table below, taken from HMRC’s guidance on the flat rate expenses for uniforms that healthcare workers can claim per year:

Healthcare staff in the National Health Service, private hospitals and nursing homes a. ambulance staff on active service 185  
  b. nurses, midwives, chiropodists, dental nurses, occupational, speech, physiotherapists and other therapists, healthcare assistants, phlebotomists and radiographers
shoes and stockings or tights allowance (where everyone is required to wear the same colour or style)

12 shoes
6 tights or stockings

  c. plaster room orderlies, hospital porters, ward clerks, sterile supply workers, hospital domestics and hospital catering staff 125  
  d. laboratory staff, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants 80  
  e. uniformed ancillary staff – maintenance workers, grounds staff, drivers, parking attendants and security guards, receptionists and other uniformed staff 80

If your employer does give an allowance towards cleaning that is less than the flat rate, then you can claim the difference from HMRC.

If your costs are more than the flat rate, you can claim the actual costs but you must keep all your receipts which must be posted to HMRC with your claim. Bear in mind, that this method does take longer to process your claim.

Where nurses have to wear the same style or colour, they can also claim £12 per year for shoes and £6 per year for tights.

Tax Saving
For those paying tax at 20% (income less than £50,000) the tax saving is 20% of your claim.

For those paying tax at 40%, the tax saving is 40% of your claim.

Making your claim
Online claims, please click here which will take you the online portal. You will need a government gateway account. You can create one if you don’t have already, in which case make sure you have you National Insurance number and either a payslip/P60/UK Passport.

If you wish to claim actual costs, you need to claim by post.

Click here to go to an online Form 87, fill in,  print and then post with your receipts to HMRC at the address given on the form.

How do you receive the tax saving?
If you are claiming for the current tax year, HMRC will adjust your tax code so that you pay less PAYE over the year.

If you are claiming for a prior tax year, HMRC will give you a lump sum repayment.

You have up to 4 years after the end of a tax year to make a claim.

If you have never claimed before and you make a claim by 5 April 2021, you can still make claims for the following tax years:2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019, 2019/2020

Should I hire an accountant?
No, there is no need to hire an accountant. You should claim personally. HMRC will not accept claims made by an agent via the online portal.