Is Workwear Subject to VAT?

More than 140 countries around the world have value-added tax (VAT), including all of Europe. For those of us living in a country where VAT is attached to most products and services, we’re aware of VAT and we know it’s often compulsory. But, as previously mentioned, it’s only attached to some goods and services. So, how are we to know if the product we’re buying is correctly subject to VAT and what rights as a business do we have to claim this back?

 

What is VAT?

Value-added tax (VAT), often referred to as the goods and services tax, is attached to most goods and services that we buy in order to source revenue for public spending. However, there are a few items that are exempt from VAT, including financial and property transactions and postage stamps, whilst most food and children’s clothes are subject to zero-rate VAT charges. For all other goods and services, the standard UK VAT rate is 20%.

 

What workwear can VAT be claimed back on and why?

The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) define a uniform as “a set of specialised clothing that is recognisable as identifying someone as having a particular occupation.” For example, work uniforms for nurses, police officers and firefighters would qualify to claim the tax back on any uniforms they purchase for their staff.

They also go on to state that it is possible to reclaim VAT on workwear that is personalised with company branding/information - via embroidery and badges - therefore meaning it can’t be worn for purposes other than work. 

Although it may be a requirement in your place of work to perform efficiently, clothing that can be doubled up and used in both personal and work life is also exempt from claiming back tax. Therefore, personal trainers and gym workers are unable to claim back tax on fitness wear, although this is their day to day uniform. 

With this in mind, team branded t-shirts for a company sports day or one off event would also not qualify as branded workwear and therefore it would not be possible to claim back VAT on garments such as these.

Lastly, a job role that requires protective workwear to prevent damage and harm on the job are all applicable when looking into which uniforms can have their tax reclaimed. This includes overalls and hi vis work clothes for instance.

 

More about our personalised workwear services

At Alsico, we provide a personalised workwear service for customers who are looking for a more professional image once they’ve decided on their ideal uniform. 

Offering a comprehensive service; from choosing which garments will fulfill their requirements, to adding the final touches that reflect their company,  ensuring professional workwear that leaves a lasting impression with their clients.

Our most popular is the embroidered workwear service that can be embroidered directly onto the garment or onto a fabric backing so it can easily be removed or reused on another item of clothing. 

If company branding on the garment requires some extra protection due to the nature of the job, our heat-seal badges are plastic coated and ideal for the food industry or uniforms that withstand frequent industrial laundering.

For those purchasing flame retardant (FR) workwear but are wishing to still brand their uniforms, our direct embroidery and transfer badges are available in an FR option to personalise your garments .

 

Alsico workwear that qualifies for VAT reclaim

With everything we’ve gone through above, it may have become apparent that some of the workwear we supply to industries qualifies for the reclaiming of VAT. Those ranges include:

If you’ve always been slightly unsure when it is possible to claim VAT back for workwear, hopefully this has helped some. Should you still find yourself unsure whether your staff’s uniforms are applicable for VAT reclaim, visit the Government website here to find out more: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-exemption-and-partial-exemption.