Tax and expenses can be confusing at the best of times, especially when working out what counts as an allowable business expense! When it comes to claiming for clothes as a business expense the short version (or shorts version if we’re doing puns) is down to usage.
If you use those clothes for work, and only work, and have to use that particular item for safety or branding, then it’s most likely an allowable expense. But the longer (trousers?) version follows.
What counts as an allowable clothing expense?
Clothing that you need for your work might include garments, shoes, hats, and eyewear. There are three broad rules which apply to claiming clothing as an expense in your business.
Part of a uniform or has your branding
There are some professions which we typically associate with wearing a uniform, such as nursing, fire fighting or the police. Plenty of other organisations also require employees to wear a uniform as part of the brand’s image, though.
So, clothing that that has the company logo is also allowable. The branding or logo must be obvious, and can’t be removed or easily hidden.
Should you ever find yourself dressing up as a pizza to promote your takeaway food business, can breathe a sigh of relief. You’ll be able to claim for your attire as it clearly constitutes a costume. Other examples include an actor’s costume for a stage production, or a suit for a professional clown or magician.
Personal protective clothing and equipment
The nature of your work might make it necessary to wear protective clothing to protect yourself from injury or infection. For instance, helmets, eyewear, or other equipment. These are an allowable expense.
What clothes can’t you claim for as a business expense?
The common theme here is that you can only claim for clothing that you’re able to demonstrate it’s solely for work. HMRC take a hard line against dual usage in expenses and business costs.
There are some grey areas though, such as with fitness instructors or personal trainers. Some may argue that the clothing they need for work can also be worn for their own personal workouts. This would exclude it from being an allowable expense as far as HMRC are concerned.
If it clearly shows the business logo and branding, and is only worn to teach those particular classes, then it’s allowable. The difficulty here might be proving it one way or another.
Other examples of clothes that you can’t claim for include:
‘Everyday’ clothes, even if you know you keep them for work and work only. This could apply to professions such taxi drivers, dog walkers, or freelance wedding photographers who set smart clothes aside for when they’re on duty.
Your favourite pyjamas and comfiest slippers, just because that’s what you like to wear when you’re working from home.
Want some more advice about your small business expenses? That’s what our team of friendly accounting professionals are on hand for. Drop us a line on 020 3355 4047, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the Live Chat button.
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About The Author
Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.