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Employment Expenses: General Rules

Do you incur expenses whilst working that your employer doesn’t reimburse? Then you may be able to claim tax relief, there are a number of different types of expenses you can claim for:

Flat Rate Expenses

If it costs you money to maintain, repair or replace work equipment and specialist clothing, then you can benefit from flat rate expenses, set at different amounts for different industries – no paperwork or expenses required. Click here for more information. Even if your type of job isn’t listed, you may still be entitled to tax relief of £60 a year.

Mileage, Travel & Subsistence Payments

You can claim tax relief for any miles in a car or van whilst on business – with the exception of miles travelled between home and your permanent workplace.

Kind of Vehicle Rate
Car or Van 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles
25p per mile after the first 10,000 miles
Motorcycle 24p per mile (all business miles)
Cycle 20p per mile (all business miles)

This table does not apply if you have a company car – in that instance, you must claim just for the actual cost of fuel for business journeys.

There are other travel related expenses you can claim for a business journey, including:

  • Public transport costs
  • Hotel accommodation if you have to stay overnight
  • Food and drink
  • Congestion charges and other tolls
  • Parking fees
  • Business phone calls, fax and photocopying costs

Professional Subscriptions

If you are a member of an approved professional body, required or helpful for your work, you can reclaim tax on these fees. To check which bodies are covered, click here.

Purchasing of Equipment

You can normally claim tax relief on the full cost of substantial equipment you have to buy to allow you to do your job under the annual investment allowance.

This doesn’t normally apply to anything that will last less than 2 years. So while you can claim for the cost of repairing, replacing or cleaning small tools you need to do your job, and cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing, you can’t claim for buying it in the first place.

Other Expenses

Other expenses not covered in the employment expenses general rules above may be eligible if:

  • The employee is obliged to incur and pay the expense as an employee, and
  • The amount is incurred ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ in the performance of the duties of employment.

However, HMRC are very strict around these other expenses and will ask:

  • Could the employee do the job without incurring that expense?
  • Is the expense incurred in the performance of the duties of employment?
  • Does everyone doing the same job incur these expenses?

How to claim

There are a number of ways you can make a claim under employment expenses general rules:

  • If you already complete a self-assessment tax return, they can be included
  • If not, and the expenses you want to claim for are more than £2,500, then you need to register and complete a tax return to do so
  • If not, and the expenses you want to claim are less than £2,500, then you can claim using form P87 – click here

Need help?

If you need helping working out what you can and can’t claim for under the employment expenses general rules, just call Rawlinsons on 01733 568321, who will be happy to help you.

To download our full Employment Expenses Factsheet, click here.