The recently published decision by the Tax Tribunal went against the taxpayer despite her threat to read the news totally naked if the decision went against her!
Will it happen? I doubt it. This was part of the defence that BBC news presenter Sian Williams made in her battle to have her expenses for clothes, hair and laundry allowed against her BBC income.[private_basic]The amounts involved are:-
Professional hairdo and colouring £975
Professional clothing for studio £3,231
Laundry of professional clothes £325
The key part of the case is that Sian Williams was an employee of the BBC at the time and as such the case was bound to fail. There is no allowance in our archaic tax laws that give duality of use (professional and private use) of clothing used by employees at work – unless they have to wear a uniform of some kind such as the Police and Paramedics.
Ms Williams was quoted as saying she would “happily read the news naked” if the case didn’t go her way – over to you Sian!
The simple fact is that she was poorly advised and she perhaps realized this as she did not attend the Tribunal hearing in person. There are some expenses that employees can incur and get relief against their PAYE income but clothing, laundry and hairdo’s do not qualify. This is basic tax knowledge and her accountant should be stood against the wall and shot. Use of your own car for work – yes. Some professional subscriptions – yes. Office equipment and supplies used for employer’s benefit – yes. Travel and accommodation on employer’s business – yes…etc…
The Tax Tribunal contended that it is a basic human need to cover the body which has to be satisifed whether we are at work or not – although there are some members of society who will probably contend this!
The rules are slightly different for people who are self employed but are rigid for employees and backed up by case law going back into history so the whole appeal to the Tribunal and all the costs associated with it were a huge waste of public money and substantial loss of face for the accountant involved.
An interesting question is… does Gordon Brown et al have a clothing allowance? I bet MP’s claim for their laundry, hairdos and clothing whilst they are in London on business. It is a shame they don’t adopt the Williams view and decide to do their work naked to save public money. It might make watching them at work just a little more interesting!