When I review client data there are one or two regular items that I often see that could lead to confusion down the line, this being uniform and glasses. So, I thought why not write a blog of what you need to know?
Dressing to impress
As a practice owner or associate you will find you’ll be buying uniforms or even possibly glasses for yourself or members of staff. It sounds like a cut and dry topic. How complicated can it really be? Sadly, it isn’t quite that simple. It comes down to two basic questions: what does HMRC consider to be a uniform and could the clothing have any personal usage?
The first question then is what does HMRC consider to be a ‘uniform’? they consider it to be an item of clothing that is specialised and distinguishes your staff or your own occupation clearly. The main point is that if you were walking down the road any passerby would easily identify your occupation and/or workplace. In many cases this can be done simply by sewing a permanent badge or logo onto the clothing which can’t be easily hidden or removed. As you or your staff will also require personal protective equipment when providing treatment for clients, such as googles or scrubs, the good news is that this is straightforward and allowable.
Whilst the above covers what clothing is an allowable expense the key theme is that you are able to demonstrate that it is only used for work. As I have alluded to, HMRC takes a hard stance against any clothing that could see personal usage. This extends even to clothing that you keep solely for work purposes. So whilst the suit that you keep to attend conferences or consultations with clients fall within this category, they are not allowable business expenses.
Helping you to see clearly
Now that we have discussed uniforms we will touch on glasses, as with uniforms it again comes down to the use.
If your glasses are needed solely for business purposes, you can claim them back against tax. But remember you’ll need to be able to prove this.
Another point to note is that eye tests can be claimed as a business expense.
I hope that this has helped in understanding the difference between what can and can’t be claimed in these areas. If you have any questions or require further guidance, please do get in touch. We’re here to help you in the best way possible.