Can I claim A Uniform Tax Refund if I Work As A Teacher?

Tax Refunds For Teachers

If you work in the Education as a teacher or in any other role, you may be entitled to claim tax refund on certain work related expenses.

As a teacher, here are some of the most common the things you might be able to claim a tax rebate for:

  • Professional fees
  • Union fees paid to: National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)
  • Specialist clothing costs: PE kit, lab coat etc
  • Using your car for work
  • Car use other than normal commuting.
  • Use of your own home – private tutoring
  • Specialist equipment: instruments, books, stationary etc

Uniform and Equipment

The rules for claiming tax back on teaching equipment is quite strict. The general rule is that costs be incurred ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ in the performance of your duties.

This means that someone performing your role would have to incur the expenses and that the expenses are incurred while performing your duties rather than putting you in the position where you are able to perform those duties.

Here are some examples when tax relief may be requested by teachers:

  • PE teacher training shoes/games kit which are allowed as long as they are replacement costs, not initial purchase costs.
  • Use of home for marking, etc – unlikely to be allowed even if a room at home is set aside exclusively for work and school facilities are inadequate)
  • Computer equipment unlikely to be allowed.

Other things we have been successful in claiming a tax rebate for:

  • DBS Certificates: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Classroom props/teaching aids where the employee could not do their job without incurring that particular expense.
  • Lab coats/art overalls etc- for cleaning, replacing or repairing uniform or specialist clothing.
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Union fees and subscriptions

If you are a teacher and pay into one (or more) of the following professional bodies you may be eligible for a tax refund:

  • Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) – www.atl.org.uk
  • The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) – www.naht.org.uk
  • The General Teaching Council for England – www.gtce.org.uk
  • The General Teaching Council for Scotland – www.gtcs.org.uk
  • The General Teaching Council for Wales – www.gtcw.org.uk
  • The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland – www.gtcni.org.uk

Or unions:

  • The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) – www.eis.org.uk
  • The National Union of Teachers (NUT) – www.teachers.org.uk
  • National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers – www.nasuwt.org.uk
  • The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) – www.naht.org.uk
  • VOICE – www.voicetheunion.org.uk

The amount of teacher tax relief that can be claimed does change. The amount allowable is dependent upon the agreement made between HMRC and the professional body. For example if a teacher was making a NUT tax relief or NASUWT tax relief only 66% of the total fee can be claimed but if you were claiming tax relief on ATL, 90% of the total fee can be reclaimed.

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Travel Expenses And Mileage

If you have used your own vehicle for work at any point during the last four years (tax years) and depending on whether or not your employer reimbursed you for that trip you may be eligible to claim back some tax. The amount will vary.

The law says travel expenses are allowable for tax purposes if:

  • You have to make the journeys in the performance of the duties of your employment; or
  • They are journeys which you make to or from a place you have to attend in the performance of your duties (such as trips from your normal work location to visit another workplace). This rule can also include travel directly from your home to visit another workplace (unless the journey is practically the same as the journey from your home to your normal work location, for example, because the other workplace is near your normal work location).

The rules surrounding tax relief say that any location you have worked at for under 24 months can count as a “temporary workplace” for tax purposes and it is this travel to temporary workplaces that is the subject of most tax refund claims.

Supply teachers that work through an agency are not entitled to claim tax relief on their travel expenses (even though they may work on lots of different engagements and may incur substantial travel costs in getting to their various work locations).

Note that changes introduced in April 2016 mean that supply teachers that work through an umbrella company are also now unable to claim tax relief on their travel expenses.

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How Do I Start My Tax Refund?

You should collect together as much information as possible concerning your work as a teacher and all the expenses you have incurred. Remember, you can claim expenses for up to four Tax years, even if you have since been made redundant, or changed jobs. This will not affect your current employment in any way or form.

Typical information needed to process your Security Tax refund would include:

  • Copies of payslips
  • Details of sites you have been located at
  • Notes of equipment you specifically have purchased for work reasons
  • Contract of employment
  • Other information you feel could be relevant to your claim

The most important thing to remember is that the more information we have, the more chance of a bigger Tax repayment. No matter how little or irrelevant you think it might be, we could possibly make a claim for the expense.

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