Blog: Are my work tools and workwear taxable expenses?

  • Lauren's Avatar
    Community Manager
    Hey everyone,

    As a tradesperson, it can be difficult to know what you can and can’t claim as a taxable expense, which can be even more complicated depending on whether you’re a sole trader or a limited company. We don’t blame you, either: there are hundreds of items that can be claimed as a taxable expense, and figuring out whether wire strippers and glue guns are among them can feel a little daunting.

    Let’s take a look at two of the most important areas where tradespeople could be saving money on taxable expenses – work tools and workwear.

    The expenses test
    HMRC’s key test when deciding whether an item is a claimable expense is as follows: can you prove that the item in question has been purchased wholly and exclusively for work purposes?

    Let’s say, for example, that you buy a laptop through your business, and aren’t sure whether you can claim it as an expense. If you planned on taking that laptop home and giving it to a loved one for Christmas, you can’t claim it as an expense. If you took it to work and used it wholly and exclusively for work purposes – to send invoices, manage your accounts etc. – you can claim it. So, where does that leave work tools and workwear?

    Work tools and workwear
    Now that we’ve established HMRC’s test for what is and isn’t considered an expense, work tools and workwear suddenly fall into place.

    If you’re an electrician and need to buy a specialist tool, such as a mains tester, this would count as a claimable expense if you were buying it solely for work purposes. The same would apply to any tool in any trade, such as hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, cement mixers, knee-kickers etc.

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    Workwear almost speaks for itself now that we know HRMC’s ‘wholly and exclusively’ test: it’s unlikely you’ll be wearing your work clothes out to a family get-together, after all. So, if you require high-vis jackets, goggles, gloves, work boots, tool belts etc., all of these items and more can be claimed as an expense. Other clothing can be trickier: a pair of jeans or a t-shirt is probably not a business expense, but work overalls or clothing branded with your business name would be fine.
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  • 9 Replies

  • ToolTalk1's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Lauren
    underware (pants) & socks are also workwear as mine get paint on so are deemed work clothes
  • Sean's Avatar
    Level 20
    Not sure I want to know how Wayne gets paint on his pants 😆🤣😆
    SEAN SAUNDERS DECORATING
  • ToolTalk1's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Sean
    Sean its really simple to explain - when painting i get paint on my hands….
    when going a pee i touch…
    my pants transferring paint to my pants.
    for socks…
    when rolling i often get get paint on my socks
    ​​​​​​​with paint on these clothes, they are then deemed work clothes 👀👍🤝
  • Sean's Avatar
    Level 20
    @ToolTalk1 oh I see, I had vision of you wearing your pants outside your trousers like a super hero,now that could be the next TV campaign 🤣😆👏👍👍
  • ToolTalk1's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Sean
    ​​​​​​​Sean anything is possible lol🤝
  • Lauren's Avatar
    Community Manager
    HAHAHA @ToolTalk1 @Sean 🤣🤣🤣 Brilliant

    Halloween is just round the corner
  • ToolTalk1's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Lauren
    we try to make an effort for the little uns #halloween
  • Georgia's Avatar
    Community Manager
    @ToolTalk1 @Sean

    This is brilliant - I was sat cackling away at my desk 😂
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  • ToolTalk1's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Georgia
    all good fun in summer….
    ​​​​​​​winter maybe not lol👀👩‍🎨