Are you entitled?

By Tony Mills on 23 November 2018 Midwives Magazine Tax relief

Are you paying too much tax? Could you be due a rebate? Tony Mills explains some of the tax allowances permitted to midwives.

Midwives – together with other healthcare workers such as nurses, ambulance staff, dentists and pharmacists – are eligible to claim extra tax relief for certain expenses they pay as part of their job.

Those who are unaware of this tax relief may be surprised at the expenses that a midwife can claim back and the money saved in each month’s pay packet. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) usually make any adjustments needed through a midwife’s tax code for the current tax year. They will also apply any tax relief to pay going forward, so you typically only need to claim once.

Midwives who have not claimed previously may be able to make a backdated claim for the last four years. In this case, midwives would receive a lump sum payment.

Here’s a simple guide to the tax relief that midwives are allowed:

Professional registration/memberships

Many workers in the healthcare sector must pay registration fees to a regulatory body, such as the NMC or the Health and Care Professions Council. They need to do this to do their job, and therefore the fees are tax deductible.

Similarly, healthcare workers who are members of a professional body, such as the RCM, and pay the subscription fees out of their own pocket can make a claim worth 20% to a basic-rate taxpayer.

Uniform maintenance

Midwives who wear a compulsory uniform at work or during off-site visits could be due a one-off rebate for its upkeep. This can be backdated to the last four tax years and received as a single payment. Any future claims will be paid in wages.

Uniform allowances in healthcare are generally higher than in other sectors because HMRC recognises the need to use a hot wash to stop the spread of germs. It only takes a couple of minutes online to check what entitlements may be due on an online calculator – see here.

Midwives and nurses of all grades are also entitled to a shoe and tights allowance if a prescribed style is compulsory, worth £18 a year in total.

Mileage allowance For healthcare workers making off-site visits or travelling to temporary places of work, a tax rebate could be due.

Midwives who use their own vehicle to travel to different locations for work, and receive less than the standard 45p per mile from their employer in expenses, can claim tax relief on the difference. But they should keep all travel and fuel receipts to make an expense claim via their employer first and foremost.

WAT scheme

NHS employees who took part in the Widening Access Training (WAT) scheme after 1999 could be entitled to make a claim because national insurance and income tax should not have been taken from wages. However, there is a lack of definitive guidance on who can claim this back. It is worth asking HMRC, but be aware that claims have a high rejection rate and some claimants have had to return their refunds, so exercise caution.

Finally, stay safe…

Don’t fall victim to fraudsters who send fake emails and text messages promising tax rebates. Midwives should never hand out any personal or payment details to companies that they haven’t approached personally. And remember that HMRC will only ever contact you via post or your employer. For more information, see here.

Tony Mills is director of Online Tax Rebates