Are you a self-employed nurse who provides dedicated and long-term care for patients? You may be eligible to claim back expenses on your taxes for things like uniform, travel and other associated costs for your profession.

Find out everything you need to know about expense claims as a nurse in this article, including:

  • What nurses can claim back on their taxes
  • How to claim expenses on your taxes
  • What you’ll need to have for a successful claim
  • How to manage your expenses more efficiently with Countingup

What can nurses claim back on their taxes?

Nursing professionals who work within certain agencies can be self-employed for tax purposes. Similarly, there have been increases in private nursing practices by those seeking to address the labour gap in recent years. So what can they claim back on their taxes?

Some nursing professionals working as bank staff for the NHS are eligible for flat rate expenses for a number of recognised costs. Similarly, nurses across all sectors are eligible to claim back things like travel expenses or professional development costs. 

Below, we cover some of the main ways in which you might be eligible for tax relief as a nurse. In each of the outlined examples, you should keep receipts to document the costs you incur as you may be asked to evidence your tax claims up to five years later.

Uniforms and clothing

As a healthcare professional, you will likely have some sort of work clothing for routine patient care. This might be things like scrubs or nursing tunics, PPE and shoes. Because they are for your job, you can claim them as expenses on your Self Assessment. However, they must be considered part of a uniform or as protective clothing for your work. 

You cannot claim on personal clothing you wear as part of your everyday life, even if you also wear it while working. Therefore, it may be considered best practice for your taxes to have a set of clothing and shoes you only wear for work purposes.

Some nursing professionals working within the NHS or private hospitals and nursing homes are eligible for flat rate expenses to help cover expenses on laundry and shoes. You might be eligible to claim these costs through the same framework, depending on your work arrangements. Therefore, you should speak with your agency to see if you qualify.

Medical tools, equipment and stationery

HMRC also offers tax relief for things like equipment needed as part of your job. This can include items like watch fobs, thermometers and stationery. 

HMRC requires work expenses to be relevant and necessary if you’re ever audited. Therefore, you should be able to explain why each item was necessary for your work when buying it. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance

As an actively operating nurse, the Nursing and Midwifery Council requires you to have indemnity insurance to cover you should accidents happen to patients while you work. 

Therefore, as an essential business expense, you can claim the cost of your policy and coverage back on your taxes. 

Travel you do for work 

At some point in your career, you may work in community care performing home visits to patients. This travel can be expensive, but you may be eligible to claim back a portion of your costs. Generally speaking, you can only claim on travel costs for journeys you make because of your work. This does not count for regular commuting. For example, if you have a main patient home or facility where you work, you cannot claim travel expenses on these journeys. 

However, you will be able to claim on the cost of travel between patient homes or as part of offering care while your patient travels. This might include things like accompanying them for medical appointments or days out where you are working to facilitate their activities. Crucially, you can’t claim on costs to and from your home. This means you won’t be able to record expenses when travelling to your first patient from your home or travelling to your home from your last patient.

You can claim on various travel costs, including public transport, mileage on your personal vehicle and fuel.

Professional subscriptions and training courses

As a nurse, you may be a member of a professional body like the Royal College or Nursing. You can claim membership costs and fees for training courses for your professional development back on your taxes. However, expenses on professional courses should only be for training on skills relevant to your current job (like medical specialisation) rather than self-employment and financial support.

If you’re a part of another or more niche body, you must make sure HMRC approves the society before expensing the cost as you could miss out on the reimbursement otherwise.

How to claim expenses on your taxes

When claiming, add up all your allowable expenses for the tax year and put the total amount on your Self Assessment tax return. You’ll need to record or accurately estimate how much you spend from your income – this is to ensure you only reimburse yourself the right amount and no more.

You don’t need to send in proof of expenses when you submit your tax return (like receipts), but you are required to keep any records for up to five years. This means you should have any and all relevant records available if asked.

What you’ll need to have for a successful claim

Successful claims are made using reasonable expenditure for your business costs and accurate record keeping. 

However, from 6 April 2023, you’ll need to keep all business records digitally using accounting software like Countingup. This is part of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative to simplify taxes for self-employed people and make the filing process easier. Find out more in our article: What is Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

How to manage your expenses more efficiently with Countingup

When you sign up for a Countingup business current account, you get free MTD-compliant accounting software that allows you to manage your business’ finances with ease. It makes it easy to keep organised when it comes to recording your expenses.

The app provides automatic expense categorisation, reminders to capture receipts and instant invoices to make sure your records are always up to date and accurate.  Countingup also provides you with running tax estimates so that you know exactly how much to set aside ahead of the Self Assessment deadline. 

Find out more here and sign up for free today.