Tricks of the Trade: What are Tax Rebates for Mechanics?

Tricks of the Trade: What are Tax Rebates for Mechanics?

As a mechanic or auto technician, over the years, you have probably spent a reasonable proportion of your salary on tools and equipment. Those essentials that you can’t work without and that you are often expected to own.

Well, if you don’t get any, or only partial, reimbursement from your employer, there are specific tax rebates for mechanics from HMRC.

The catch? You have to make an official claim because your money cannot be returned to you automatically.

What can automotive technicians claim for?

There are huge numbers of tax allowances available to working taxpayers as an acknowledgement that you are paying in order to work. It is important to sift through these and make a claim for the rebates that are applicable to your profession.

In your trade, the most common claims are;

  • Buying tools, toolboxes and other equipment
  • Buying uniform or protective clothing, including footwear (safety boots)
  • Washing your own uniform and protective clothing

You are eligible to receive back between 15 and 20% of the total of your tools purchases. This is only a guideline figure as claims are worked out on a case-by-case basis and consider things like your income and how much tax you pay.

A workmate mentioned something about a ‘flat rate expense claim’ – is that the same thing?

There are two ways to get your tax rebate entitlement and it all depends on whether or not you have any receipt evidence to prove your purchases.

  • If you do not have any receipts, then you can make a ‘flat rate expense’ claim which is currently valued at a £120 per year spend on tools for mechanics. So this becomes worth 20% of that at £24 per year. Bear in mind that you can backdate your claim for four years. This is also known as a ‘tool allowance’.
  • If you do have receipts to support your claim then you can get back the tax on the actual amount you spent. This usually works out at a higher amount than the flat rate figure, at 20% of your total spending cost on tools. This sort of claim goes back as far as your receipt history, as long as the tools are still in use.

Does it matter where I shop?

Absolutely not! It doesn’t matter whether you buy tools and equipment at the wholesalers, online stores or DIY shops – as long as you keep the receipt!

Will my employer be contacted about this claim?

No, your communications with HMRC are private and there is no need for your employer to be involved. They are not liable to pay any money you are owed and it doesn’t matter if you’ve had several different employers in the period you are claiming for.

Are there any other tax allowances I can claim?

HMRC has a whole range of different tax reliefs for work expenses. These are some of the other ones that are most commonly claimed by mechanics and auto technicians.

  • Trade Union fees

Some Trade Unions have an agreement with HMRC which allows its members to reclaim the tax paid on their fees.

If you use your own vehicle to travel between different work places then you could be entitled to tax relief on this expense. You can also claim for using public transport to get between work locations. This doesn’t apply to a daily commute between your home and a permanent place of work.

  • Subsistence and accommodation costs

If your employment requires you to stay away from home, then you are entitled to some tax relief on the related costs. This means “reasonable” bills for food, drinks and hotel rooms.

  • Professional bodies and journals

It is sometimes possible to claim for the subscription costs of belonging to professional bodies or subscribing to industry specific journals.

A claim takes HMRC an average of 8-12 weeks to process, but this can vary depending on how snowed under they are with their current workload. Once you have made an initial claim, your tax code will be altered to incorporate future purchases of tools and make sure you are paying less tax.

It can be rather daunting to start wading through HMRC’s vast array of regulations and many people feel it is wise to seek professional help with their claim to make sure they are receiving all of their legitimate work expenses tax allowances.

This article was provided by the experts at Start your mechanics’ tools tax rebate claim today and you could claim back thousands of pounds.

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