Tax Tips for Bar Workers in the UK

If you’re headed to the UK for a working holiday then you may end up working in a bar whilst you get some cash together for travelling, but it’s important to be aware of what you’re earning and more importantly how much you’re getting taxed.

Bar workers, just like anyone else working in the UK hospitality industry, are required to pay income tax on their earnings however you are entitled to claim tax relief for certain items if you have been left out of pocket.

What items am I able to claim for?

This depends on your role and what you are being asked to pay for however as a general rule you should be able to claim for the following:

  • Uniform, or specific work-related clothing
  • Protective workwear
  • Cost of laundering your uniform
  • Travel to another location that isn’t your usual workplace
  • Meals and accommodation if asked to work in another location
  • Training costs
  • Membership fees – if relevant to your job

Tips – do I pay tax on them?

It is likely that as a bar worker you’ll earn tips on top of your wages. These can either be added as a service charge to the bill which is then paid to the employee or shared amongst all the workers or a customer may pay you directly in cash. Either way, tips that a bar worker earns are taxable and should be declared.

If your employer is responsible for sharing out the tips, then it is also their responsibility to make sure these are declared for tax purposes – you don’t need to worry about that. If you receive tips in cash, it can be easy to just let these slip through the net, but unfortunately, it’s illegal to do so, and you may be in trouble if the taxman finds out. In order to keep everything above board, you’ll need to declare any tips you receive through self-assessment.

Think you may be due a tax refund from your working holiday in the UK? Apply here to get your tax back. 

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