Claim Tax Relief Against Tools and Equipment on PAYE – No Receipts Needed

If you are working in the healthcare industry and are expected to provide your own tools, equipment or other supplies for work, you may be able to claim a considerably well sized tax rebate against the cost of buying, maintaining, and cleaning these items.

The majority of UK healthcare workers are unaware that they can claim tax relief under the PAYE system against the costs involved with providing such supplies for work – without the need to go onto Self Assessment.

What’s more, you can actually claim right back to April 2008, and best of all, you generally won’t even need to provide receipts or proof of purchase.

Why? Well, if you take the time to trawl through The Income Tax Act (2003), you’ll find that nurses and other healthcare workers, like all PAYE employees – being the majority of people in Britain – are allowed to claim tax relief (also known as tax deductions) against the cost of providing tools and equipment for work. These costs are often referred to as being “Allowable Expenses”.

There’s only one requirement – the items you buy for work need to have been purchased “wholly, exclusively and necessarily” as part of your work duties.

To illustrate this, if you’ve had to provide your own clothing, equipment or cleaning supplies, it’s almost certain that you can claim a tax refund against the expense.

How do I claim this tax refund?
If you have provided your own equipment and/or tools for work, there are a few options available when it comes to claiming a tax refund. Let’s run through the various options;

First up, the traditional method – submitting your original receipts and sales invoices to the tax office, and getting a specific amount of tax relief back in the process. HMRC will deduct the actual figures you’ve spent from your taxable income, and provide you with a tax refund to cover the difference.

Now, this option is fine if you happen to have kept hold of all your tool and equipment receipts – but it is unlikely for many that they will have a comprehensive file of all work related expenses back to April 2008.

Don’t panic though, because there’s another tax refund option available to nurses and other healthcare workers on PAYE – and it doesn’t require the digging out of a single receipt or purchase invoice.

This is because the tax office now allows nurses and other healthcare staff on PAYE to claim Flat Rate Expenses (often shortened to ‘FREs’). Flat Rate Expenses exist to refund the taxpayer with a fixed amount for each year that he or she has provided tools and equipment for their job. The amount is determined by the tax office, and is specific to your industry. There are hundreds of different rates, according to your industry and job type, including a great many categories for different nursing and healthcare roles, NHS and Private Sector alike.

The nursing rates are pre-determined in consultation with the likes of the NHS and the major trade unions, so you won’t need to provide receipts or proof of purchase. You won’t even necessarily need to be a member of the trade union to make a claim.

In essence, if you claim for nursing tax relief under Flat Rate Expenses, you’ll receive tax relief equal to the average amount a nurse in your job type will be expected to spend on providing their own supplies or equipment in a single year.

Flat Rate Expenses – a worked example
Jon works as a midwife and has been working for the NHS since April 2008. Like many nurses, Jon has to provide and launder his own uniform under the requirements of his nursing employment contract.

Jon can claim expenses of £100 per year on the grounds that he must launder his own uniform. As a nurse he is also eligible to claim tax relief against the cost of his Unison and Royal College of Midwives subscriptions, which will itself be well in excess of £1,000 over a four year claim.

If Jon is expected to supply any physical equipment or tools, such as a privately purchased stethoscope, he will be eligible for tax relief on the amounts incurred providing the cost was incurred wholly and exclusively in the pursuit of his work.

Jon will also benefit from having the tax relief applied automatically for each tax year going forwards. So he’ll get another load of tax relief next year, and the year after, as long as he stays working in the trade. Jon hasn’t had to provide any receipts, and it didn’t even matter that he’s worked for 3 different garages during the period.

So how do I claim tax relief on my tools and equipment?
To claim tax relief against your equipment and tools, check out the link below. It takes just a couple of minutes to apply, and could be worth hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, in tax relief.