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The cost of upkeep and replacement of uniform and protective clothing from HMRC instructions to their Inspectors.
A deduction can be permitted for the cost of upkeep, replacement
and repair of protective clothing or uniforms, see EIM32465,
where the duties require it to be worn and the employee must bear the cost. If
the expense is partly met by the employer, for example by an untaxed allowance
in lieu of uniform, only the net cost to the employee is deductible.
The leading case on clothing is Hillyer v Leeke (51TC90). Mr Hillyer was a computer engineer who was required by his manager to wear a suit and tie at work. He only wore his suit and tie at work and they suffered excessive wear and tear as a result of the nature of his duties. It was held in the High Court that no deduction was due for the cost of the clothing.
The cost of the clothing was not incurred wholly and exclusively in the
performance of Mr Hillyer's duties, see EIM31660.
At the same time as he was wearing the clothing for work it was also meeting his
need for warmth and decency.
"the employee has to wear something and the nature of his job dictates what that
something will be."
Many jobs require clothing of a particular type. For example, outdoor workers
may require warm clothing while other workers may require lightweight clothing.
There are also jobs for which the employee is required to be particularly smart.
The fact that particular clothing may be necessary to carry out a particular job
does not make the cost of that clothing deductible. This is illustrated by
examples EIM32460 and EIM32461.
The Courts have recognised that there may be exceptions to the
general rule that the cost of clothing is not deductible.
"the cost of protective clothing worn in the course of carrying on a trade will be deductible, because warmth and decency are incidental to the protection necessary to the carrying on of the trade.
In the same way a deduction can be permitted from earnings for the cost of protective clothing, see EIM32470. In the case of Hillyer v Leeke (51TC90) Goulding J recognised that the cost of clothing could be deductible where the clothing is:
We also accept that specialist clothing can include clothing that
is a uniform or part of a uniform, see EIM32475.
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