Completing Your P87 Tax Form

To be honest there isn’t a lot that you’re able to claim as tax relief if you work as a health professional in the UK. But there are a few bits and pieces that can add up meaning a few hundred pounds back in your pocket. Totally worth it for the effort it takes to fill out a short form if you ask me! 

Tax relief (like a tax deduction) reduces the amount of tax you have to pay. You’ll use the P87 form to claim tax relief, or to get a partial refund on the stuff you’ve have to buy for work yourself.

It’s a good idea to fill this form out either at the end of the financial year, or when you’re leaving the UK. But you can only use this form if:

  • You’re an employee (not self-employed)
  • You don’t complete a Self Assessment tax return
  • You spent your own money on these expenses (and didn’t get reimbursed by your employer)
  • You paid income tax in the financial year you’re claiming relief for (you can’t ask for money back that you haven’t paid!)
  • The expenses total less than £2,500 per year
  • You’re claiming for expenses you incurred within the past 4 years


When it comes to actually completing the form you have two options.

First is online, which sounds like the simplest in our modern technology driven world, but after faffing about for a few days trying and failing to get a Government Gateway ID and password I gave up (stupid technology…) and used the postal form.

The good old snail mail worked fine, so I’ll take you through the form you print and post here.

About Section

Nominate which tax year you’re completing your claim for.

Personal Info Section

Nice and easy.

Use the address you lived in at the time your claim pertains to.

You’ll find your National Insurance Number (NIN) and PAYE reference on a P45 or P60 form if your employer has given you one.

Flat Rate Expenses Section

This includes uniforms, laundry and small tools. You can claim relief on the costs of cleaning, repairing and replacing these items if you use them solely for your job. 

As a healthcare worker you’ll get to claim a standard amount or ‘flat rate’ each year based on your profession. At the time of writing the flat rate is £125, meaning you don’t have to keep receipts if you spend less than this amount in the year. 

If you want to claim tax relief of more than £125 you’ll need to keep a record of your spending to show the HMRC. 

You can check the list on the gov.uk website for the most up to date list by profession.

Using your own vehicle for work section

If you’re using your own car for community visits during work hours then this would be included here. 

Unfortunately it doesn’t include driving to work each day, or driving to a location to fulfil a locum contract. 

Make sure throughout the year you’re keeping records of your destinations, the distances you drive, and if your employer pays any mileage for you. 

Professional subscriptions section

This is where you claim for your HCPC registration and your membership fees to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy or your equivalent professional association.

Just bear in mind that you can only claim relief on approved organisations, which are listed on the gov.uk website.

Hotel and meal expenses

Accommodation, meals and business phone calls you’ve had to pay yourself while travelling for business would go here (I never had the pleasure, but if you’re in a job that gives you the opportunity to travel lucky you!) 

Other expenses

If you had to pop some fuel in the hospital car using your own money, then that would go here (if you weren’t repaid by the department).

General expenses

If you were given any spending money or petty cash, then you could list them here.

Total expenses

This summarises your expenses and provides the final total you are claiming for.

Remember that you’ll only be refunded a percentage of the amount you claim here based on your tax bracket, not the full amount.

If you pay 20% income tax, you’ll get 20% of your claimable expenses total back.

But still, it’s money in your pocket and not the tax man’s!

Payments section

Any refund you are owed will be posted to you as a cheque (yay another win for modern technology!)

Be sure to spell your name correctly (or your nominee’s name correctly) as the cheque can only be deposited into an account with those details.

Also ensure it’s being posted to a trusted address so it reaches you!


At this point it’s time to print and sign your form.

Then pop it in an envelope and post it off to the HMRC.

Job done!

I’ll let you know how long it takes once I receive my own return, and whether any opportunity to receive a bank transfer rather than a cheque will present itself (as promised by the lovely HMRC Customer Service team on twitter – a surprisingly convenient way to get their advice actually. Modern technology for the win!).

** Update: 3 months after completing this form, I received my P800 form in the snail mail! The P800 is just a fancy name for a form that tells you whether you’ve under or overpaid tax in the nominated financial year, and how much you owe the HMRC (or hopefully vice versa).

And yes, as promised there was an option to claim my refund electronically! Once I worked out how to get into my online Personal Tax Account with my Government Gateway ID…


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