If you work in the hospitality industry, it’s possible you might be missing out on a host of tax entitlements which could help to take some of the pressure off your finances.
Like in many other industries, hospitality workers either don’t know the full facts about what they may be due or are putting off making a claim because they think it’ll be a complicated a drawn-out process.
This could mean employees are missing out on millions of tax relief. Tony Mills, director of Online Tax Rebates, offers a simple guide to the tax entitlements you can’t afford to miss out on…
Keeping things uniform
If you wear a uniform to work, there’s a chance you might be able to claim a portion of tax back. This is providing your employer requires you to wear it while you’re working, you have to purchase, clean, repair and replace it yourself, and you paid income tax in the year you are claiming for.
The standard flat rate expense allowance for uniform maintenance is £60 (for 2018/19). This means basic-rate taxpayers can claim £12 back and higher-rate taxpayers £24.
Better still, most people can claim back retroactively to 2014 if you’ve been wearing the uniform throughout this period. That could mean a £60 boost for a basic-rate taxpayer. It only takes a couple of minutes online to check what you could be entitled to using an online calculator.
Union fees and memberships
Many workers in the hospitality industry are members of a union and, if you are, you could be eligible to claim tax relief on fees or subscriptions you pay to approved professional organisations.
Importantly, this only applies if you are a member of a professional union within your industry and the tax office has approved the union of which you are a member. The exact amount you could be entitled to depends on the agreement you have in place between your union and the tax office. While some agreements allow tax relief on the full union fee, others only allow a small percentage.
It’s worthwhile finding out how much tax you’re allowed to claim back, as you could be entitled to a healthy windfall.
Expenses, expenses, expenses
Nearly 50% of us use our own money to pay for work expenses and then forget or can’t face the hassle of claiming it back. However, small expenses here and there can add up.
For example, if you have to travel between different venues for your work, regularly or as a one off, you may be able to claim tax relief on the cost or for money you’ve spent on getting there, food and overnight accommodation.
Buying your own equipment can also qualify as a business expense, such as a good set of chef’s knives which can often cost hundreds of pounds. You don’t need to provide receipts to claim as there is a flat rate allowance but if you are spending more than £60 a year you could be missing out if you aren’t keeping receipts and claiming for the extra.
Technology is coming to the rescue and making it easier and quicker to claim. Downloading an app such as BizXpense Tracker or Concur Mobile allows you to simply take a picture of receipts as you spend and log your claim.
Don’t fall victim to fraudsters
While it’s important to be mindful of the tax entitlements you’re eligible for, it’s also vital you remain cautious. Ensure you don’t fall foul of fraudsters who send fake emails and text messages assuring you that you are entitled to rebates.
Fraudulent activity typically increases around the end of the tax year (around March/April time), so it’s essential to be mindful. Protect yourself by never handing out any personal or payment details to companies you haven’t contacted before. Also, remember, HMRC will only ever contact you via post or through your employer, never through email.
If you suspect you may have fallen victim to a scam, report your concern to your bank/card issuer at the earliest opportunity.
By Tony Mills, director of tax rebate firm,