Money Matters

When can a consultant claim for their threads?

A common gripe amongst hospital consultants is that they are not entitled to tax relief on the cost of their daily clothes. The basis for such treatment goes back to an infamous tax case where it was decided that most clothing for purchased for warmth and human decency rather than to aid a profession.

You will have to pay a sizeable amount each year to be turned out in a manner fitting to your position, yet the Revenue (HMRC) will not be impressed and will almost always seek to deny tax relief. The situation is the same regardless of whether you have a pure NHS role and/or a private practice.

The medical profession do get through suits at a much faster rate than an ordinary office worker, no doubt aided by the amount of vomit and dry cleaning that can be a part of daily life, but this does not create a sympathetic reception from the powers that be.

Above it was stated that HMRC ‘almost always seek to deny tax relief’, so does that mean that there are cases where clothing can produce an acceptable claim for tax relief? Yes, but the cases are limited. Occasionally you will come across consultants who have purchased their own medical shirts and had their name/position embroided on the item. Such shirts are purely for business purposes and can be claimed, but only via a private practice.

In rare cases some private clinics charge their surgeons for the hire of theatre clothing, and again this will be relievable for tax purposes.

For the most part consultants need to resign themselves to not claiming anything for the purchase of their clothing, but they should be claiming for dry cleaning through a private practice.

John is a specialist in the taxation of hospital consultants with Medic-Tax. John can be contacted at [email protected]

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3 Responses to “When can a consultant claim for their threads?”

  1. Dr Zorro says:

    “The medical profession do get through suits at a much faster rate than an ordinary office worker”

    I have not bought a suit since 1995 or a tie since 1988. And who wears a suit to work in these days of “bare below the elbows”? Get your work clothes at Asda. Then if they get soiled by something unpleasant it is no great expense to simply discard and replace.

  2. tom goodfellow says:

    I agree.

    Most consultants now dress like the medical students (although I have not yet tried the bare midrift that some of the girlies like to sport)!

  3. Roger Lewis says:

    Please see HMRC EIM66795 – Tax treatment of National Health Service employees: expenses deductions: laundering uniforms: amount of deduction.

    HMRC are advised that although the rates in the table do not specifically cover doctors and dentists they can treat them as falling into category 4 if they receive a request for a deduction and the conditions in EIM66790 are met.

    I hope this helps to claim a little. I have been successful in a number of claims in this respect.

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