Dress code and tax allowances

Service-Tax

Uniforms must wear, inter alia, railwaymen, conductors and city guards. However, the tax relief is available to a much larger group of employers. However, their appearance and value are important. The purchase of which clothes can therefore be classified as tax deductible costs?

Pursuant to Art. 21 sec. 1 point 10 of the Personal Income Tax Act, the value of the uniform or its equivalent is tax-free, provided that its use is the responsibility of the employee, e.g. on the basis of an employer's order, regulations functioning in the company or an employment contract . However, there is no legal definition of workwear. Therefore, there are often discrepancies in the interpretation of regulations by tax offices.

Legal interpretation

According to the tax authorities, work clothing is special clothing worn only in connection with the work performed, the nature of which should prevent it from being used for personal purposes, e.g. uniform, work clothing (overalls, aprons), as well as representative clothing, characteristic for the company by its color , cut, logo. Depending on the type of outfit and the conditions of using tax deductions, work clothing can be divided into work clothing, corporate clothing and representative clothing.

Workwear

There is no doubt that the work and protective clothing provided by the employer to the employee under the provisions of the Labor Code or provisions on health and safety at work will be tax-free. It does not have the features of personal clothing or features of representative clothing. It also does not matter how much its value will be. All invoices or bills confirming its purchase can be classified as tax deductible costs. The exemption also covers the reimbursement of the costs of purchasing such clothes, if the employee pays them.

Corporate clothing

Tax write-offs of uniforms will not be questioned by any tax office, provided that they do not contain features identifying them with the company and if the necessity to wear them is related to the specificity of the work performed. The situation becomes more complicated in the case of an outfit with recognizable brand features. These include, in particular, overprints with a logo or company name and company colors. As there is no unequivocal definition of a corporate outfit, tax offices allow themselves freedom in interpreting tax regulations. The Tax Office in Radom and the Tax Office in Legnica, using art. 16 sec. 1 point 28 of the Personal Income Tax Act, in their decisions, they exclude the possibility of making tax deductions for the purchase of company clothing, characteristic for the company through color, cut or logo, classifying it as representative clothing. In their justifications, tax institutions pay attention to the meaning of the phrase "recognizable company features". In their understanding, the outfit of a given person, bearing the company's logo, indicates the fact that it is this and not another company that a given person represents. And since it represents, the costs of purchasing a given outfit should be included in the company's representation costs, and these, according to the regulations, are not exempt from tax. However, the Director of the Tax Chamber in Katowice does not agree with this formulation. In his opinion (case reference IBPBI / 2 / 423-1115 / 08 / PP), the mere designation of the official attire with the company's logo under which the company provides hotel services does not yet determine its advertising character, as it is often only a kind of information. commercial. In this sense, expenses incurred for the purchase of uniforms printed with the company's logo with a low unit value, which hotel employees are dressed in while performing their duties, may be recognized as tax deductible costs.

Representative clothing

While there are legal discrepancies in the case of corporate clothing, there are no such discrepancies in the case of representative clothing. In the legal status effective from January 1, 2007 of the Act on Corporate and Personal Income Tax, representation expenses are not recognized as tax deductible costs. It is not enough just to prove that a given garment is not representative, it must also be proved that the garment does not have the characteristics of a private outfit, i.e. that it cannot be used by the employee for private purposes. In this case, suits, suits, elegant blouses and other similar clothes certainly do not meet the above-mentioned features.

Analyzing the interpretations of tax authorities regarding the issue of recognizing uniforms for employees as tax deductible costs, it can be noticed that recently the authorities generally support the possibility of recognizing such expenses as the cost of the employer. It is difficult to conclude that the purchase by the employer of official clothes for employees is the cost of representation, which was excluded by the legislator from tax deductible costs. However, if there is any doubt about the application of tax deductions, it is worth asking the competent tax office for tax interpretations in a given case. Such steps will probably protect against possible legal liability.