What expenses can I claim for on my self assessment tax return in the UK?
This article will help explain the tax-deductible expenses you might have forgotten to mention.
You can save money on your tax bill by including the right deductions for claimable expenses incurred in the course of doing business, and you might be surprised at what you can include.
For example, did you know you can claim tax deductions for:
Business mileage allowance: You may be able to claim tax-deductible expenses if you use your own car or a company vehicle when travelling on business. If you're self-employed HMRC recommends that the cost of using your private car is covered by an allowance per mile travelled at 45p (up to 10,000 miles in the year, with a reduced rate above this), rather than claiming tax-deductible expenses for actual costs.
Working from home allowance: If you're not office-based as part of your role, then tax-deductible expenses for working from home may be allowable. You can only claim tax deductions for the costs that are directly related to using a workspace in the home used exclusively and regularly for business purposes, such as a room set up with a desk and chair. If you dedicate a specific room in your home as your workspace, you can in some cases claim the exact extra costs for using that space for work (e.g. the additional cost of electricity or heating).
If your employment status is ‘office based’ (for example, you regularly use an office at the place of business) or you're visiting clients as part of your role, then you cannot claim tax deductions for your home.
Subsistence: You can claim tax-deductible expenses for the cost of lunches you have bought while out and about on business. HMRC suggests that tax deductions cannot be claimed if you buy your lunch from home before going to work, or stop off at a restaurant en route. You can though claim tax deductions for the cost of lunches you have bought while out and about on business if they are a necessary element of doing your job, such as when working out of the office with colleagues or clients. You cannot claim tax deductions for taking a client to lunch purely because it is convenient or more pleasant than eating alone in the office canteen.
If you're hosting a company visiting from outside the UK, tax-deductible expenses can be claimed for the cost of food and drink directly attributable to entertaining overseas clients or business visitors. You cannot deduct tax on an evening meal if it has been provided free of charge as part of your tax-deductible entertainment expenses. Food and drink expenses for hosting a UK-based company are not tax-deductible.
Training costs: You can claim tax deductions for costs incurred when you're training to do your job well and to keep up-to-date with changes in tax law or industry practice. You can include costs you incur when taking part in external conferences or seminars.
Subscription fees for maintaining relevant professional memberships are also claimable.
Your tax return is one of the most important documents you’ll fill out each year and it directly impacts the money you have in your back pocket. That's why it's so important to ensure every claimable expense is included in order to save money when filing your self-assessment.
We've outlined above some of the main and most common expenses you can claim, but there are also plenty more job-specific expenses, such as protective clothing for tradespeople and even costumes for actors!
Our advice? Do your homework, check what you can claim (and what you can't), and keep good records as you go along - trust us, it will make it that much easier to pay less tax if you've got a record of what you've spent and when!