As with any other sector, not every mile you travel or pound you spend will count toward your tax refund. As we mentioned above, daily commutes to permanent workplaces don't qualify. To earn you some tax back, the mileage you're claiming for needs to be to and from “temporary workplaces”. Generally, this just means somewhere you work for less than 24 months in a row.
For example, a nursing job that sees you travelling to patients’ homes could be eligible for a pretty decent tax refund. On top of this, subsistence costs while you're on the move can also be included in your refund claim. We're talking about things like accommodation and food costs. Again, while those bills might not seem like much from day to day, they can stack up over time into a healthy tax refund.
Healthcare tax refunds can be complex, especially when you're travelling to a number of hospitals or clinics within the same general area. If your mileage and travel times don't change much between workplaces, HMRC might call the entire region you're travelling in to be a “permanent workplace”. Wrinkles in the rules like this are why it's always best to get professional advice when making your claim. The regulations are easy to trip over, but with the right help you can steer clear of problems. For example, rotational contracts, that have you working full-time at a string of hospitals over years, usually won't qualify for work travel tax refunds. However, training under (for example) a single 5-year contract could mean each workplace counts as temporary. In effect, it's a single employment with multiple temporary workplaces.
You may still be owed some tax back even if some of your costs are being reimbursed by your employer. The rules around HMRC's Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP) say that, if you're not getting the full amount you qualify for, you can claim back the difference in a tax refund. The NHS has its own rates as well, if you're employed by them.
Importantly, the costs you’re claiming tax relief for must be essential for your work, and being paid from your own pocket. HMRC will expect you to show proof of what you’re spending in your claim, so records and receipts are essential. Once again, though, the Flat Rate Expenses system can offer an easier way if you don’t mind using HMRC’s figures.
If you're buying things like laptops or office equipment for work, you may also be able to claim capital allowances for them. This is generally for items with a fairly long expected lifespan. As always, you'll need to be paying for them yourself to qualify for tax relief.