Tax allowances and reliefs - employees or directors

If you're an employee or a director you might be able to get tax relief for business expenses you've paid for. These include the cost of professional fees or subscriptions, business travel and subsistence, tools and specialist clothing.

On this page:

What counts as a 'tax-deductible' expense?

You can only get tax relief for business expenses you've paid for and if they were for the cost of either:

  • travelling you had to do in doing your job
  • other expenses you had to pay in doing your job - and which related only to doing your job. For example you cannot claim for the cost of ordinary clothing that you wear to work because it is not a cost which only relates to doing your job – you need to wear clothing both inside and outside of work

You can't ask for tax relief if your employer has already reimbursed you for the expense and has agreed a ‘dispensation’ with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

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Key allowances and reliefs

There are several important reliefs that you might be able to get to reduce your tax bill which are listed below. If you think you might be able to get any of the ones listed in this guide you can find out more about them by following the links.

This is not a comprehensive list of all business expenses that you can claim for – you can claim relief for any expenses you had to pay in doing your job and which related only to doing your job.

Business mileage or fuel

You may be able to get tax relief for business mileage when you use your own vehicle on business, or for fuel you buy when you use a company car. You can't claim for your normal commuting costs.

Find out about getting tax relief for business mileage or fuel

Professional fees and subscriptions

You can ask for tax relief for the cost of fees and subscriptions you pay to some approved organisations - but only if you have to pay them, or if it's helpful for your work.

Get information about tax relief for professional fees and subscriptions

Tools and specialist clothing

If you have to provide small tools or buy specialist clothing for your work - like a uniform or protective clothing - you may be able to get tax relief for the cost of them.

Find out about tax relief for specialist tools or clothing

Capital allowances

If you buy something like a filing cabinet or a desk for your work - called capital expenditure - you might be able to get capital allowances to help with the cost.

Find out about claiming tax relief for capital expenditure

Household expenses when working at home

You may be able to get relief for some household expenses and some travelling costs if you work from home. You might also be able to get capital allowances for capital expenditure.

Get details of tax relief for household expenses when working at home

Travel and subsistence costs

You may be able to get relief for the cost of business travel - for example if you need to visit a client or go to a temporary workplace. You can also ask for relief for 'subsistence' - the cost of meals and overnight expenses.

Find out about tax relief for travel expenses and subsistence costs

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Special rules and situations

There are some special rules or arrangements for certain tax allowances and reliefs, for example if you're:

  • working on board a ship
  • working or living abroad
  • coming to work in the UK

Get details of tax relief if you work on board a ship

Find out about Income Tax when arriving in the UK

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How to get tax relief

You can ask for tax relief for your business expenses on your Self Assessment tax return if you have to fill one in. If you don't have to, you can use a form P87 Tax Relief for Expenses of Employment to tell HMRC about the expenses you want to ask for relief for or sometimes you can just call them. Follow the link below to find out more about how you can get tax relief.

Find out about claiming tax relief for your business expenses

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More useful links

Get information about tax allowances and reliefs

Read guidance on filling in the tax return employment pages (PDF 115K)

Find out if you need to complete a tax return

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