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Self Assessment -Expenses you can claim back as an employee

Wondering what everyday work expenses you can claim back on your self assessment form? Here are some expenses that a PAYE paying employee can claim. Note these can be back dated to also!

Wondering what everyday work expenses you can claim back on your self assessment form? Here are some expenses that a PAYE paying employee can claim. It is also worth noting that if you were entitled to tax relief on any of these expenses in previous years, but did not claim them, most can be back claimed to your 2012/13 return. You must keep proof of all expenses, bills and mileage you are claiming for. HMRC may ask you for proof of both the expenses and their business use. For more help with self assessment see our Guide.

  1. Mileage. If the mileage allowance that your employer pays you is less than the HMRC rate, you are able to claim the balance. The first 10,000 business miles, according to HMRC, can be claimed at a rate of 45p per mile. Over 10,000 miles the allowable HMRC rate drops to 25p per mile. If you are paid less than these rates by your employer, you can claim the difference on your self assessment return. More detailed information is available from HMRC.
  2. Working from home. If you are required to work from home by your employer or have a home working agreement in place with them, you are entitled to claim a home working allowance. This is to help with increased household costs because of business use, such as electricity, gas, phone.  The amount you can claim at present is £4 a week. For more info see our article on the Working from Home Allowance.
  3. Charitable contributions.  If you are a higher rate taxpayer and have made gift aided charitable donations, you can claim tax relief on them. For example, if you donated £200 to charity, the total donation would be £250, so you can claim back £50 if you pay tax at 40%. HMRC have more information on the relief.
  4. Clothing and Tools.If you work in certain industries, such as the building/ metal working industries, you may have to use uniforms, specialist or protective clothing, gloves, etc. You can claim tax relief on the maintenance/ cleaning/ replacement of these items, but you can't claim for the initial cost of buying the items. That is, of course, as long as your employer does not already compensate you for these costs. To find out more about this relief you will need to contact HMRC.
  5. Professional fees and subscriptions. You can claim tax relief on professional fees, membership fees, subscriptions, etc. if they are necessary or beneficial for your work. See HMRC for more info. To be entitled to the relief the organisation subscribed to must be on the HMRC approved list.
  6. Capital Allowances. If you have to buy equipment for work, that your employer does not pay for, you may be able to claim capital allowance tax relief. The example HMRC gives is of a filing cabinet purchased by an employee for work, but not paid for by the employer. You can not claim relief for motor vehicles. These are dealt with on a different part of your tax return. See HMRC for more on capital allowances.

The way you receive tax relief for your work expenses depends on the amount of your claim.

Claims up to £2,500. If your claim is £2,500 or less, HMRC normally gives you relief for your expenses through your tax code straight away. If you claim an estimated figure, they will review it at the end of the year. They will make any adjustments that are needed in your tax code for the next tax year.

Claims over £2,500. If your expenses claim is for more than £2,500, HMRC will give you relief in your tax code for the current year and for the next one - and send you a tax return to fill in. They will also check your tax calculation for the previous year.

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Once you’re comfortable with the information you’ve entered, simply submit via the app to HMRC. You’ll just need your Tax Reference Number - found on most tax correspondence. SimpleTax let you use their software free for 14 days. If you don’t think it’s right for you - don’t pay anything. If you do to choose to submit your tax information via the app, then at most of you will be charged £25 for their standard service (silver).

This article was published in our News section on 20/01/2017.

Some Guides you may be interested in

  • Off-payroll working in the private sector - a contractors guide IR35 is a tax legislation used to distinguish between employees and genuinely self-employed contractors. Last month we compiled a comprehensive guide to IR35. Now, we take an in-depth look at how the ‘off-payroll working’ rules, introduced to the public sector in 2017, will be extended to medium and large-sized businesses in the private sector from April 2020.
  • Valid expenses you could claim as a landlord Are you a landlord? Maybe considering a new home, and letting out your current property? Maybe you’re working abroad for a while, and renting your home to make ends meet? Before you take the plunge (or even if you took it years ago), this article aims to help you make the most from your rental income.
  • A guide to expenses for Contractors As a contractor, working through your own limited company, one of the main benefits available to you is the ability to claim business expenses. Claiming expenses correctly can reduce your tax bill, it’s a vital part of running your company tax efficiently.
  • 7 reasons you could have the wrong Tax Code Your Tax Code tells your employer how much tax to take off your pay. What if your code is wrong? In the past 4 years, 1 in 3 employed taxpayers have been overcharged tax because their employer has received the wrong code from HMRC!
  • IR35 - A contractors guide for 2018/19 IR35 is a complex piece of legislation used to distinguish between true self-employed contractors and employees. As a contractor, it’s important that you have an awareness and understanding of IR35 to ensure that you’re paying the correct amount of tax and National Insurance. Here’s a definitive introduction to IR35 to help you understand how it works.
  • Making Tax Digital for Landlords There's every chance that you are not yet aware of Making Tax Digital (MTD). However, if you are a landlord with rental income - (that's income, not profit) – greater than £10,000 annually then you should be. MTD is the biggest shake up to the UK tax system since the advent of Self-Assessment in the 1990s. And it affects you, from April 2020 at least.
  • Contractors - LTD Company v Umbrella? What are the benefits for contractors of setting up a Limited Company vs Umbrella Company? Read our guide, see how much you could take home in each setup.
  • Capital Gains Tax on Rental Property (Buy-to-let) 2018 Whether it's primary residence relief, letting relief, or even the costs of improvement works, our resident landlord and property tax editor, Iain King has the information you need to reduce your CGT liability.
  • 14 Reasons why you may be due a tax refund Almost 1 in 3 PAYE employees may have paid too much tax. We have put together a list of 14 reasons why you might be owed money by HMRC.
  • Avoid paying too much tax on rental income Our resident landlord tax expert, Iain Rankin, has put together a great guide on how to reduce the amount of tax paid on income from your rental property

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