As a contractor, paying for your workwear can become expensive. However, there are certain circumstances in which clothing is allowed as an allowable expense. This guide will help you to understand the rules on what you can and cannot claim.  

What clothing expenses can I claim as a contractor?

In order for your clothing to be claimed as an expense, it must fall under certain criteria:

Uniform

If there is a clear and very specific dress code and the items purchased can only be worn during your working hours, these can likely be reclaimed. This includes items of clothing with the company’s brand and logo. Clothing classified as a uniform is usually distinguished on the basis that the individual can be identified by profession.

Example: If you are a doctor and you are required to wear a specific coat or gown, this will constitute as a uniform.

Protective gear

Any gear which is required to protect your health and safety whilst working also falls under claimable expenses because it is necessary for these items to be worn. 

Example: If you are a builder and need to purchase a hard hat, protective gloves and a hi-vis vest to undertake your daily work, this can be expensed. 

What kind of clothing is not expensable?

You cannot claim for clothing which would otherwise make up part of your wardrobe if this is not necessary to fulfil your duties or can be worn for occasions other than work (duality of purpose). Some work environments exercise rules about what to wear, but the clothing specified is generally generic. In this instance, you will not be able to claim expenses on anything purchased. 

Example: If you are undertaking a contract and the business requires you to wear a suit, any items you purchase will not be expensable. This is because you could, in theory, wear these items of clothing outside of work.  

If you are still unsure, you can consult the table below for further information: 

Clothing item Can I claim expenses?
Uniform Yes
Costumes for actors or entertainers Yes
Protective clothing or accessories Yes
Branded clothing or clothing containing the company logo Yes
Smart suits, shirts and skirts No
Everyday clothing worn for work No

How can Nixon Williams help?

For advice about claiming expenses and further information about what you can and cannot claim, our specialist accountants are here to help. To speak to one of our experts, simply call 01253 362062 or email newbusiness@nixonwilliams.com.