When you start your business, or when it comes to completing your tax return, you may be wondering what expenses you can offset against your sales. Some expenses are obvious, such as the materials you’ve purchased to make your products but others not so.
What general day to day expenses can I claim for?
If you work from home, you may not be aware that you can claim for use of home expenses on your tax return. These mainly cover the light, heating and electric costs as it is likely these will increase as you work from home. This can be calculated using percentage of these costs which you link to the floor space of your office, or you can use a daily flat rate amount, set out by HMRC.
If you use the internet whilst at home, you can also claim a percentage of your broadband costs. It is the same with your mobile phone if you do not have one specifically for business.
Advertising, marketing, stationery, postage, software, and larger items such as your office computer and desk are also allowed.
What expenses can I claim for when I'm out and about?
If you have a car that you use for business this can also be put through the accounts. You can claim either 45p per mile or a percentage of the running costs.
The percentage is calculated based upon the amount of business use that your car does. Business use is considered to be journeys such as going to temporary places of work, visiting clients, traveling to purchase stock or attending training courses.
Driving to your office or a regular place of work is not deemed to be business use, as this is your commute so this is personal use.
Other business-related travel costs, parking and bridge tolls can be claimed. Parking fines and speed awareness courses cannot.
Food can only be claimed if you are working away. The coffee on the way to work or the sandwich whilst you are sat at your desk is not allowable.
Other expenses that you may forget about
Clothes can only be claimed if they are a uniform, if they are branded or if they are safety items such as high vis jackets and steel toe boots. Anything with a possible duel use, such as suits, office wear or jeans and fleeces cannot be claimed.
Training courses can be put through but only if you are maintaining a current skill or they are directly related to your business. For example, a plumber could not claim for the courses where they learnt to be a plumber. But they can claim for a social media course where they learn how to promote their business or any courses they need to undertake to maintain any safety certificates.
Of course, accountancy fees can also go through. HMRC penalties and interest cannot.
If you have a business bank account, then the charges that relate to this can be claimed. The same goes for fees relating to a business credit card, PayPal and the interest element on a business loan.
As you can tell, this is just a simple overview of some of the main expenses that it is possible to claim. Every business is different, so when it’s time to complete your tax return and you discover that you’d like more detail you can visit the blog section of our website or simply get in touch.