HMRC say no to tax relief on PPE Equipment
In the early stages of the pandemic it was widely reported that Doctors, Nurses and Care Workers purchased their own PPE equipment.
Logic would tell you that this equipment was an absolute necessity so tax relief must be available. Sadly, HMRC beg to differ and have issued the guidance:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If your employees are working in a situation where the risk of coronavirus transmission is very high, and your risk assessment shows that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE to your employees free of charge. Any PPE you provide must fit properly. The provision of PPE to your employees is non-taxable.
If your employee requires PPE to carry out their role and you are unable to provide this, you must reimburse the actual expenses of employees who purchase PPE themselves. This is non-taxable and employees cannot claim tax relief on these expenses from HMRC.
Based on strict interpretation of tax legislation, then HMRC’s stance is arguably correct. However, we feel an argument could be made that PPE falls under ‘Specialist Clothing’. As a result of historical tax cases, HMRC have accepted that clothing of ‘special character’ dictated by the occupation e.g. a uniform, may be tax-deductible for an employee.
Ultimately the tax at stake may not be that significant but HMRC’s stance remains perplexing.
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