Tax relief for clothing
There is an overriding rule when claiming a deduction for the cost of clothing as a self-employed individual; the garment must be wholly and exclusively used for the purpose of your business. This is normally the sticking point with clothes – they are generally needed for warmth and decency, so the ‘exclusively’ part of the condition fails.

However, where the purpose of the clothing is to protect the individual or products, and the items are required to be worn in the work environment, the cost will be tax deductible. This would apply to hard-hats and high visibility jackets worn on building sites, or hairnets and latex gloves in a food factory.

The cost of a uniform required to be worn at work can also be deducted. 

To qualify as a uniform the items must not be part of your everyday wardrobe, and should be easily identified as a uniform by the logos attached to the items, colour or styling. Performers who need to wear a costume for their act can claim for the cost of the clothes, makeup, wigs, and shoes used in the performance.

However, where such clothing could be worn as everyday wear, such as a business suit, the cost will not be deductible.

If you want to claim for the cost of clothes or footwear you wear at work, you must keep a copy of the receipt (a digital picture is fine), and record why you need the item for your business. 
Tax refund claims
You don’t have to wait until the end of the tax year to reclaim any tax you have overpaid. It is now quite simple to do this through your online personal tax account ( personal-tax-account).

f you are still employed, your PAYE code should be adjusted so you receive your tax repayment as an addition to your next salary payment. However, young people who have worked during the summer to build up savings for university, may no longer have a job through which the tax repayment can be made.

These students may have had too much tax deducted from their wages, as £987 of their personal allowance is set against their salary each month, but over the whole year they may earn less than the full personal allowance of £11,850.

If the student doesn’t plan to earn a wage during the Christmas break, it would be worthwhile claiming a tax refund. This can be done by applying through their online personal tax account, or by calling HMRC. Be sure to note the date and time when calling HMRC, the name of the HMRC adviser, and who said what.

Tax refund claims can be made for the previous four tax years as well. The earliest year you can claim for is now 2014/15.
VAT on imports and exports
When you import from, or export to, countries in the EU, you generally don’t have to worry about VAT or customs duties. That may change when the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on 29 March 2019.

It’s possible that the UK will leave the EU automatically by operation of the law (having triggered Article 50) with no withdrawal agreement in place. In that case the UK will immediately be treated as a third country in relation to the EU for all trading purposes, including for customs duties and VAT.

For imports, the VAT will have to be paid at the border before the goods can enter the UK. Similarly, your EU customers will have to pay VAT at the border when they buy goods from your company which is based in the UK.

Exporting is more complicated. For example, to ship goods into the EU your business will need an EORI number, and the commodity code for the goods. You may also need a special licence to move the goods, particularly for food or animal products, and tariffs may be imposed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

If all your overseas business is currently done with customers or suppliers in other EU countries, you will need to quickly get to grips with VAT on imports and exports and the customs procedures required. HMRC has recently written to businesses in your position, with advice on where to look for guidance on those issues.

There are nine detailed Government guides on importing and exporting procedures that will come into force if there is no deal on the withdrawal from the EU, which you can read here: 
Pension lump sum
If you have received a lump sum payment from your pension fund you may have had excess tax deducted from it. This happens, for example, because the pension provider tends to use an emergency PAYE code for the first payment you take from your fund.

If you have had tax incorrectly deducted from a lump sum payment, you will get it back from HMRC if the pension scheme doesn’t refund it. However, there are several different claim forms, depending on the circumstances. We can help you with those forms.

If you do expect to take further pension payments in the same year, the tax repayment should be made when you receive the next pension instalment. However, for this to work, your PAYE code needs to be adjusted.

You can request a new tax code from HMRC through your online personal tax account. Alternatively, you can phone HMRC to ask for the code to be changed.

We can do this on your behalf if you have authorised our firm to act for your personal tax affairs. 

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