Back to basics: Job expenses

Expenses incurred by employees are generally the responsibility of the employer.

Quite often, however, employees have to bear the cost themselves when travelling for work, having meals and even providing clothes. It may be possible for tax relief to be claimed on such costs.

Which employment expenses qualify for tax relief in the UK?

Work-related travel

Having to travel to a temporary workplace is an essential travel expense. The commute to and from the location will be tax-deductible.

Uniforms, work clothing and tools

You may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of:

  • repairing or replacing small tools you need to do your job (for example, scissors or an electric drill)
  • cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a uniform or safety boots)

You cannot claim relief on the initial cost of buying small tools or clothing for work.

You cannot claim tax relief for personal protective equipment. If your job requires you to use this, the cost should be borne by your employer by either providing it free of charge or re-imbursing the cost to you.

Subsistence costs

Accommodation and living costs are tax-deductible when an employee is required to work away from home.

Professional fees and subscriptions

Professional fees and subscriptions may also qualify for tax relief. However, they need to be relevant to your job and the organisation needs to be on HMRC approved list.

The tax relief works by taking off the amount from your employment income, reducing your taxable income and the tax you have to pay. A claim will need to be submitted to HMRC.

Working from home

Working from home became commonplace during the pandemic.

Employers can make tax and NIC-free payments to an employee in respect of reasonable additional costs incurred for working at home, for example, gas, electricity, telephone and internet.

However, HMRC allows a tax and NIC-free flat rate reimbursement of £6 a week without providing evidence of extra costs. Anything above that will require receipts or bills as evidence.

Link: What if I incur expenses in relation to my job?