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If you need to purchase specific types of clothing for work, you could claim back on some of these items, however, they must be essential to your line of work, such as protective clothing for your safety.

With so many benefits associated with self-employment, it’s easy to see why there are now more people than ever joining the contracting sector.

Not only are you more likely to have a better work/life balance, more flexibility and control, you are also able to potentially earn more than a permanent worker in the same role.

A great benefit with contracting is that you are able to claim back expenses that are made wholly and exclusively for the running of your business. By taking advantage of this perk you can reduce your tax bill at the end of the year, due to the fact that you won’t be taxed on items and purchases that are needed for your company.

Clothing expenses

When it comes to claiming back on clothing expenses, there is a set of guidelines to follow in order to make it an allowable expense.

The sector and type of work you carry out will be a considerable factor when it comes to whether clothing costs can be claimed or not.

For example, if you are contracting in an industry where protective clothing is needed, this would be seen as being a requirement to be able to carry out the work – you might be working on a construction site or you could be a mechanic.

If this were the case then it would be absolutely compulsory for your safety to have items such as protective gloves, overalls, steel toe cap boots or hard hats.

Other clothing that could be claimed back is if you have to wear a uniform for work. There are many circumstances where a contractor would have to present themselves in a uniform in order to be recognised – such as a locum doctor or nurse.

You may also work in the entertainment industry and might need to be in costume, in which case this is also a claimable expense.

Unfortunately, if your situation is that you simply have a dress code to stick to, then you may not necessarily be able to claim these items as an expense. This is due to the fact that one of the main rules is that you cannot claim back on clothing that you would wear outside of work – even if you do often wear it for work too.

If you are still unsure on whether the clothing you are purchasing for business purposes is a legitimate expense, talk to your accountant for further advice and guidance.

Type of expenses

The type of contractor you are – Sole Trader, Limited or Umbrella company, will determine what counts as an allowable expense for you, however, Limited Company contractors are able to claim back on a much wider range of expenses.

The most common types of contractor expenses includes:

  • Travel
  • Your company’s commercial rent, heating and lighting
  • Computers and software
  • Stationery
  • Accountancy fees
  • Advertising or marketing costs (such as a website)

There is also the fact that if you work from home, it may be possible for you to claim an allowance to cover the costs for things like heating, electricity, internet and telephone use.

It is important to be aware that with any expenses you wish to claim, you will need to keep hold of receipts for proof of these purchases, for a minimum of 6 years.

At the end of each tax year you will need to add up all of your allowable expenses and factor them into your accounts and tax return.

To find out more about contracting or what expenses you could claim, please call Jaime on 01442 795 100 or email

Why Thousands of Contractors Choose Dolan Accountancy

With over 25 years experience in contractor accountancy helping thousands of contractors, freelancers and the self employed, Dolan Accountancy has the specialist skills, reputation and credibility you can trust.

Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £105 + VAT. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100 or email or

We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With IR35 Legislation changes we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – We offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge
  • Free Business Banking – We have decided to waive our commission so our clients can use Tide free of charge for the first year
  • Unlimited IR35 Status Reviews – We will review all of your contracts for IR35 purposes and provide you with our professional opinion as to its status
  • Free Registered and Director’s Service Office Address – Sometimes you just don’t want your home address on display at Companies House. When you sign up to our accountancy services, we will offer the use of our address as an alternative
  • Your Business and Personal Taxation Needs – This includes Company Accounts, Director’s Personal Tax Return, VAT Returns, Payroll, Corporation Tax and Dividend advice, to name just a few

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