The "uniform tax" is not actually a tax, but rather a rebate on tax you have already paid. It's available to people who have to wear a uniform for work and are responsible for maintaining it, for example washing or repairing it when needed. The first time you claim, you will need to do so in writing. The rebate doesn't have anything to do with the cost you pay when initially buying a uniform.
To be eligible for the rebate, you must have a uniform that is mandatory to wear for work, and which you are required to clean and to repair or replace if it is damaged. Strictly speaking it only applies to identifiable uniforms such as those with company branding on, or official uniforms such as a police or fire brigade uniform. In some cases you can get a rebate relating to work clothes that you only wear for work, though this is decided on a case by case basis: the general principle is that it must be clothing you couldn't normally wear outside of work, so a suit and tie wouldn't count.
There's a standard annual allowance for uniforms: as of June 2013 it's £60 in most cases, though some professions have a higher allowance up to a maximum of £140. The higher rates are generally for jobs such as working with machinery where its likely the clothes will get dirtier or more damaged. The standard allowance for your profession applies unless you can prove the actual washing and repair costs are higher, which may be difficult. These amounts aren't payments, but rather allowances offset against your tax. For example, if your allowance is £60 and you are a basic rate tax payer, you'll get a rebate of £12, which is equal to the 20 percent tax you paid on the equivalent amount of your income. If you aren't a taxpayer, you don't get any money back.
The first time you claim, you must do so in a letter to the tax office listed on your P60 (the document your employer gives you once a year detailing your income and taxes paid.) The letter needs to detail your job, your employer, the type of uniform your have, and whether your employers contributes anything towards maintaining the uniform. Once you've made a claim, in future years you can call HMRC to make a claim. As of June 2013, the number is 0845 200 0627. In both cases you need to say whether you want the rebate to be paid as a cheque, or deducted from your future tax payments.
Some third party companies will apply for a rebate on your behalf in return for a fee. It is legal to offer such a service, but there is no need whatsoever for you to use it. Applying yourself is a simple and free process.
Normally military members don't need to claim for the uniform rebate. This is dealt with automatically through the tax system and payroll. Instead of getting a rebate, military members have their personal allowance raised to cover the uniform maintenance allowance.
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