One of the recurring topics I discuss with clients is business clothing – what can you claim, what can’t you claim and why. As a business owner, contractor or freelancer, it is of course important to be smartly dressed and give a great impression to your clients and customers – but unfortunately that doesn’t mean it can be claimed as a business expense. 
You have set-up your business, or perhaps you have picked up your first contract role. 
You are going to meet your client for your first day and you want to give a great first impression – you want to be suited and booted.  
So you can head to the shops, pick up everything you need and your business can pick up the tab and claim the cost, right? 
Standard office clothing; suits, jackets, ties and those super-smart shoes are not considered to be allowable business expenses. HMRC is really clear on this. 
The reasoning behind this is simple – a basic requirement, much like food, is that you are clothed. As such, general office clothing can’t be considered to be “wholly and exclusively” for business use. Yes, even if you only wear it to work! 
Similarly, jeans and T-shirts bought for work, if working in construction or perhaps just a casual office, can’t be claimed. 
The only clothing that can be claimed are:- 
- Uniforms – must have business branding 
- Protective Clothing – hard-hat, hi-vis jacket, steel-toe-capped boots etc 
It is really important to take this on board and ensure you only claim for the clothing that you are allowed to. If in doubt get in touch and we will be happy to discuss this with you. 
Effective Accounting makes the numbers work for contractors and small businesses. We provide advice and support to our clients based on their individual circumstances. 
Further Reading: 
See our Expenses Guide here
Written by: 
Nicola J Sorrell -  
Effective Accounting 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
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