Clothing purchased for work purposes

I am a self-employed builder and prepared my own tax return last year, but the Inspector of Taxes has asked some questions about my self-employed expenses.  I did answer the letter, but the Inspector has now written back to me to tell me that I cannot include the cost of the clothes I have bought for work.  Is this true?

1st November 2010

The purchase of general clothing is not an allowable deduction for tax, as it could be worn for non-work purposes - the fact that the trader may choose not to wear the clothing for non-work purposes is irrelevant.  Therefore the only items of clothing that can be claimed for are those which fall into the categories of protective clothing and/or uniforms.

As you work in the building trade, the cost of steel capped boots, flourescent vests, hard hats, protective gloves and goggles could be claimed for, as could the cost of any overalls purchased.  You would not, however, be able to claim for general clothing such as jeans and trainers.

The legislation does allow for claims for the cost of uniforms though, so if you had t-shirts, sweatshirts etc displaying your business details, those articles of clothing could be deducted for tax purposes.

If you are still negotiating your expenses claim with the Inspector, it would be advisable to seek professional guidance to ensure that all claims to which you are entitled are submitted, such as laundry costs.  Your local TaxAssist Accountant will be able to assist you with this and would also be able to deal with the Inspector on your behalf.

By Jo Nockels

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