It’s that time of year. The self-assessment deadline of 31st January is right around the corner and individuals across the country are stressing over what they can and cannot claim for.

Well, wonder no more, here is a guide on things that you can legitimately claim for, regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed.

If you’re employed, or you receive a company pension and pay tax through the PAYE system, you can claim the following:

Mileage

Staff paid a mileage allowance to use their own vehicle for business use are entitled to some extra cash if their employer pays less per mile than HMRC’s approved rate.

For the first 10,000 business miles, if you are paid less than 45p per mile to use your car or van for work then you can claim the difference.  If you have mileage in excess of 10,000 you can claim 25p per mile, from there on.

Charitable contributions

If you are in the higher-rate tax bracket and have made gift-aided charity contributions, you are allowed to claim back the rate of tax that you have paid. For example, if you donated £200 to charity, the total donation would be £250, so you can claim back £50 if you pay tax at 40%.

Professional fees and subscriptions

If you have to pay annual registration fees or a membership premium to a professional body, then you can offset these against tax.

Clothing

Normally, you are unable to gain any tax relief on clothing that you wear to work, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you work in an outdoor environment, such as the building trade or as a landscape gardening, then you may need protective clothing such as gloves, boots, overalls etc. If you have to pay for the costs of cleaning or replacing this protective clothing yourself and your employer doesn’t compensate you, then you are entitled to tax relief.

As a general rule, you can’t get tax relief for the cost of clothing you wear to work – but there are some exceptions. For example, if you work in a sector such as the building trade, you’ll have to wear protective clothing such as overalls, gloves and boots. If you have to pay for the cost of repairing, cleaning or replacing this type of clothing yourself and your employer doesn’t reimburse you, you are entitled to tax relief – but you can’t claim for the initial cost of buying the items.

Working from home

If you are working from home, and have no other option but to do so, you may be able to claim some form of tax relief on your household expenses, such as electricity, gas and business phone calls. But domestic expenses, such as rent, council tax, phone/internet bills, cannot be claimed.

However, if you’re self- employed or partially self-employed, you can enjoy a much broader scope of tax relief.

Household expenses

If you are running your business from home or just simply using part of your home to do work or accounting, you can claim a proportion of your household bills, such as electricity, water, gas and council tax.

Even if you only use your home in a minimal way to manage your business affairs, like producing business records or filing accounts, HMRC will now accept a £4 per week, or £208 per year, office deduction without questioning.

Internet and phone/IT

Any business calls can be claimed, but only a proportion of line rental or internet charges can be claimed based on how much they are used for business activities.

You can also offset proportional costs of any new devices such as laptops or tablets, but if it’s only used for business activities you may offset the entire cost. This also applies for software, printers and stationery.

Vehicles

Any vehicle insurance policies, repairs, maintenance, fuel, parking, license fees or breakdown cover charges incurred as part of your business can all be claimed. However, private motoring and speeding tickets cannot be offset against tax.

Marketing/Admin

HMRC allows for all costs incurred by marketing strategies, such as newspaper advertising, email marketing, web design and hosting and directory listings to be offset. This is also the case with hiring accountants, surveyors, solicitors or architects.

Bank and other charges

All business bank and credit card charges, leasing payments and hire purchase interest are tax deductible.

Clothing

If you have specialist items that are used entirely for work then these are tax deductible. So, a self-employed financial advisor could not claim for a new suit, as this is not essential for his business. However, if he also had a construction business then he could offset the cost of any protective workwear he required for that job.

If you would like any advice with regards to dealing with HMRC please call KinsellaTax on 0800 471 4546 and speak with one of our tax investigations experts today.

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