Employees who use their own money to buy things they need for their job can sometimes claim tax relief for the associated costs. It is usually only possible to claim tax relief for the cost of items used solely for your work.
There is no tax relief available if your employer pays you back in full for an item you have bought for work. In addition, you cannot claim tax relief if your employer has provided you with a suitable item, but you want a different or upgraded model. For example, you are provided with a mobile phone for your work, but you want to use a newer and more advanced model and pay for this yourself. An employee cannot claim relief on the initial cost of buying small tools or clothing for work.
Employees who need to buy substantial equipment to use as part of their employment may be able to claim tax relief. In most cases, you can claim tax relief on the full cost of this type of equipment as it usually qualifies for a type of capital allowance called annual investment allowance. Any tax relief would be reduced if the employer provides a contribution towards buying the item. The way to claim tax relief varies and depends if the amount spent is more or less than £2,500.
There are different rules for employees who use their own uniforms, work clothing and tools for work. It is possible to claim for the cost of repairing or replacing small tools you need to do your job as an employee (for example, scissors or an electric drill), or cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a uniform or safety boots). A claim for valid purchases can be made against receipts or as a ‘flat rate deduction’.