Employment expenses – claim back tax online

Published on 25 February 2020

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) now offer an online service for claiming tax relief on the expenses you pay in carrying out your job.

man checking expenses to claim tax back online
Shutterstock

What expenses can I claim tax relief on?

If your employer does not reimburse you all the expenses of your employment, you can claim tax relief on them, provided that you are a taxpayer and that those expenses were necessary for you to perform the job you do.

For example, if you are a care worker and need to travel between clients, these costs of travelling between clients are eligible for tax relief if your employer does not pay them. If you are a UK basic rate taxpayer this means you could get back 20p for every £1 of expenses you have incurred personally.

Common expenses you might have to pay yourself include professional subscriptions and some travelling expenses. You can read about what expenses you can claim in our Employment section. Be careful with travel expenses as tax relief on the costs of your normal commuting cannot generally be claimed.

What have HMRC changed about the way I can claim tax relief?

Up to now, you could claim tax relief on the above kinds of expenses either by: completing a tax return, if required to complete one; or if you are not required to complete a tax return and your employment expenses add up to less than £2,500 in a tax year, by making a separate claim to HMRC. These separate claims could be made by:

  • filling in a ‘print and post’ form P87 on screen, printing and sending to HMRC; or
  • telephoning HMRC and providing them with details.

Now you can make the claim online using a new service.

Why would I claim online rather than in writing or by phone?

You can use the online service at any time that suits you without feeling rushed. You do not have to pay for a phone call or a stamp and your claim should be dealt with quicker. Also, phone lines can be busy but if you do need to call, the GOV.UK page suggests calling between 8am and 10am Monday to Friday when lines tend to be less busy.

If you are claiming employment expenses for more than one job or for more than one tax year, a print and post form would have to be filled in for each job or tax year, whereas just one claim for multiple years can be made online, although the total expenses claimed must not be more than £2,500. The online service also allows you to claim for expenses relating to up to five different jobs.

How do I register to use the service?

If you already have a Government Gateway account, you can sign in using that. If not, our tax basics section provides advice on opening one of these accounts.

(26-02-2020)

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