It is one of the most frequent questions business owners ask us: what can we claim against tax?

Put simply, if you are an employee and use your own money to buy things that you need for your job, you may be able to claim tax relief for the associated costs. You can usually only claim tax relief for the cost of items that are used solely for your work.

There is no tax relief available if your employer pays you back in full for an item you have bought for work. In addition, you cannot claim tax relief if your employer has provided you with a suitable item but you want a different or upgraded model – for example a laptop or mobile – and pay for it yourself.

You make a claim for valid purchases against receipts or as a ‘flat rate deduction’. Flat rate deductions are set amounts that HMRC has agreed are typically spent each year by employees in different occupations.


Deductions range from £60 to £140 depending on listed occupations. If your occupation isn’t listed, you may still be able to claim a standard annual amount of £60 in tax relief. If you work in certain listed occupations, you could claim back even more.

Expenses where you may be able to claim tax relief include:

  • if you use your own vehicle for work,
  • travel and overnight expenses,
  • professional fees,
  • costs associated with work from home and
  • buying certain equipment to use as part of your employment.

The rules are complex and it can be a bit of a difficult minefield to navigate.

If you pay out for costs and need to know whether you can make a claim, or how to do this, we can help, so please get in touch.