Tax Relief For Employment Expenses: But Don’t Get Too Excited!

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Tax Relief For Employment Expenses: But Don’t Get Too Excited!

By Mark McLaughlin, March 2019
Mark McLaughlin points out that tax relief for certain employment expenses is potentially miserly but can be higher in some cases. 

Many employees need to use and maintain special clothing for work purposes. They may incur costs of (for example) having their protective work clothing cleaned regularly. It would, therefore, seem fair and reasonable that such costs should be deductible from their employment income. However, the tax system is not necessarily known for its fairness.

Is the cost deductible?
In the above example of cleaning costs for work clothes, the tax rules generally allow a deduction if certain conditions are satisfied. These are broadly: 
  • the cleaning costs are paid by the employee (or are paid on their behalf by someone else and are included in the employee’s earnings) (ITEPA 2003, s 333(1));
  • the employee is obliged to incur and pay the costs as an
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