A guide to explains the different ways employees can claim tax relief for the employment expenses they incur as part of their jobs.
This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to employees claiming tax relief for employment expenses.
At a glance
There are several different ways in which Income Tax relief can be claimed by an employee on job-related expenses.
To obtain tax relief, the expense must have been:
- Incurred personally and not reimbursed by your employer.
- Incurred 'wholly, exclusively and necessarily' in the performance of your employment.
- You must be a taxpayer in order to claim relief.
All claims must be made to HM Revenue & Customs.
You will need your employer's name and PAYE reference in order to make the claim. Ask the HR department for these details. They also appear on your end-of-year PAYE summary form P60.
A claim can be made online if you meet certain criteria, as follows:
- You are not already in Self Assessment.
- The claim is for less than £2,500 in a single tax year.
- Your claim is in respect of:
A claim can generally be made by phone if expenses were claimed in a prior year and they total less than either:
- £2,500 for professional fees and subscriptions.
Postal claims must be made by completing Form P87 which can be used to claim:
- On someone else’s behalf.
- For multiple tax years.
- For multiple jobs.
Additional information can be submitted with the form if necessary.
From 21 December 2022, claims made on form P87 must include:
- All details in section 1 (personal and employment details), except for the individual's phone number and title.
- The employer PAYE reference number in section 2 (found on P60s, P45s or the individual's Personal Tax Account).
- The industry type in section 2 (where the claim includes flat rate expenses).
Forms received by HMRC which do not include these details will be rejected.
Following a clampdown on over-charging by unscrupulous tax agents, a new claim form was made available on 12 February 2024:
- This includes a nomination section to be completed where any repayment due should be made to a third party, such as an agent.
- The new form must be used for claims submitted from 26 February 2024: claims made thereafter using the old form will be rejected.
Unable to contact HMRC by post or online?
In December 2023 HMRC announced that you can contact HMRC by phone if you’ve already claimed the same expense type in a previous year and your total expenses are £2,500 or less. You cannot claim working-from-home expenses by phone.
In January 2024, HMRC announced that a new online service for employees to claim tax relief on all of their expenses in one place is being developed.
- This is intended to simplify the claim process for many employees and allow HMRC to automatically process claims. Currently, some claims are processed manually by HMRC.
- Further details are expected later in 2024.
If you complete a Self Assessment tax return you need to make the claim in the Employment income section.
Information that you will need when filing an expense claim includes:
- The receipts for the expenses that you are claiming.
- Details of any business mileage undertaken, which could include journey details, miles travelled and Authorised mileage payments received.
- Receipts for any Hotel and Meal expenses incurred.
Useful guides on this topic
A series of guides that look at the rules covering employee expenses
Authorised mileage rates (own vehicle)
How much can you claim for the costs of business travel? How much can be reimbursed by an employer towards the costs of qualifying business travel?
Can employees claim tax relief for subsistence? How do you make a claim?
Accommodation: With travel or temporary workplaces
What cash allowances can be provided for business travel? What qualifies as business travel? What tax relief is available for accommodation?
Can home-workers benefit from employer-provided broadband? What tax relief is available? How is it calculated?
Exemption for paid and reimbursed expenses
What exemptions apply for paid and reimbursed employee expenses? What are the rules?
Fees and subscriptions: List 3 (professional bodies)
What tax relief on professional membership fees and annual subscriptions? What's the legislation?