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Can I claim a suit as a business expense?

So if you’re going to dress for success, surely you can claim all the clothing as a business expense?

  HMRC are very strict when it comes to what clothing you can & can’t claim as a business expense.  There is a term ‘Everyday wardrobe’ which is often used by HMRC. Clothing which you could wear, whilst not working, is usually not an allowable expense. Clothing, like all business expenses, must meet the fundamental rule of being ‘wholly and exclusively’ for business use.


Allowed:

Uniforms- The general rule is that shirts, etc, must have your company logo on them. This logo should really be fixed onto the garment, and not just sown on. For this reason, it is best practice to buy uniforms with the logo already printed on them.

Protective clothing- So, if you wear toe capped boots, or other protective clothing/ equipment whilst working, these are claimable. These items do no need to have a logo on them; as you’re unlikely to wear your overall to the local Indian restaurant on a Saturday night.

Costumes needed for work- For example, clothing for actors.

A key factor to note, is that a sales man, who wears a branded T-shirt, & ordinary black trousers, could claim for the branded T-shirt/ shirt. On the other hand, the black trousers couldn’t be claimed for; as they fall under the ‘everyday wardrobe’ category.  It doesn’t matter whether the salesman actually does or doesn’t wear the trousers out of work.  What counts is that he could.

Unfortunately, this means that a business suit also falls under the same category as the salesman’s black trousers. A business suit could obviously also, be worn to a friend’s wedding, or to a local restaurant for a family member’s birthday party.

Allowable items include (not an exhaustive list)

High Vis vests/ jackets

Safety Boots/ shoes

Overalls

Trousers with padded knees

Helmets

​ Where the rules aren’t clear:

Of course, you can get those logos which are stitched onto clothes. However, HMRC’s stance on this is: ‘Fixing a permanent and conspicuous badge to what would otherwise be ordinary clothing may be enough to make it a uniform, but each case must be considered on its merits.’

Therefore, if you need any fleeces, T-shirts or anything else, the recommended approach would be to buy the item with the logo printed on.

Summary:

So in short, a suit wouldn’t be considered to be a business expense; as it could easily fall under the ‘Everyday Wardrobe’ category. Suits don’t usually have a logo attached, & could easily be worn at your friend’s wedding, or for another non-business activity.