Tax relief for clothing

There is an overriding rule when claiming a deduction for the cost of clothing as a self-employed individual; the garment must be wholly and exclusively used for the purpose of your business. This is normally the sticking point with clothes – they are generally needed for warmth and decency, so the “exclusively” part of the condition fails.

However, where the purpose of the clothing is to protect the individual or products, and the items are required to be worn in the work environment, the cost will be tax deductible. This would apply to hard-hats and high visibility jackets worn on building sites, or hairnets and latex gloves in a food factory.

The cost of a uniform required to be worn at work can also be deducted. To qualify as a uniform the items must not be part of your everyday wardrobe, and should be easily identified as a uniform by the logos attached to the items, colour or styling.

Performers who need to wear a costume for their act can claim for the cost of the clothes, make-up, wigs, and shoes used in the performance. However, where such clothing could be worn as everyday wear, such as a business suit, the cost will not be deductible.

If you want to claim for the cost of clothes or footwear you wear at work, you must keep a copy of the receipt (a digital picture is fine), and record why you need the item for your business.