15th Jun 2018

It’s Events Season! Is Renting a Dinner Jacket Tax Deductible?

Let’s run through some useful information so that you have more of an idea about what is allowable.

1. If it’s part of your ‘everyday wardrobe’, no.
Clothing, by definition, has a duality of purpose, and may relate to keeping up work appearances as well as keeping you protected from the elements. If you could wear an item of clothing outside of work as part of an ‘everyday wardrobe’, that item is not allowable for tax relief. HMRC take this stance after a court ruling (Hillyer v Leeke) concerning a female barrister who tried to claim tax relief on dark suits that she purchased to wear during court proceedings; this was not allowable as she could reasonably wear those suits on non-work occasions.

2. If it’s evening dress for work, no.
It’s awards season after all! The cost of hiring or buying evening dress for a business function is not allowable for tax relief, however the waiter or waitress serving you in a tailcoat could claim the cost of that tailcoat. The difference here is that the tailcoat isn’t part of an ‘everyday wardrobe’ and must be worn for work purposes, whereas attending these functions is not a necessary task as part of your job.

3. If it’s part of a uniform, yes!
Does your uniform clearly identify what you do and have you had to buy it? If so, you can certainly put the item through your accounts to claim tax relief. An example of this would be a self-employed nurse who requires a uniform that clearly identifies his or her role. There are limits however, so you can’t claim tax relief on any other clothing such as socks or jackets if they don’t form part of your uniform.

4. If it’s protective clothing, yes!
If you require safety clothing such as steel toe-capped boots, a high-visibility jacket, or a helmet within your occupation, these are acceptable items to claim tax relief on providing you wear them to site. Remember the ‘everyday wardrobe’ rule above though, so the jeans and shirt you wear whilst on the job are not allowable, due to the dual purpose of them.

5. If it’s a costume, yes!
If you’re an entertainer, actor or musician and the clothes you’re purchasing are part of a specific costume, or ‘acquired for a film, stage or TV performance’, you can claim tax relief on those items of clothing. An example of this would be a children’s circus clown performer; the clown suit and shoes, and even the red nose can be ran through your accounts for tax relief.

We also frequently get asked about the cost of a t-shirt or jacket that is branded with a business logo being allowable. In terms of tax relief for personal clothing, this would not be available, however keep in mind that it may fall into your advertising and promotion costs as you are advertising the business when you wear it. Though it is worth mentioning that HMRC could argue that the garment has a dual purpose of keeping you decently clad as well as advertising, so check with your advisors if you’re unsure.

If you’d like to chat to us about any of the above, please get in touch and we’d be more than happy to discuss it in more detail.