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When it comes to carrying out your self-assessment, it’s hard to know what can and can’t be included as allowable expenses. Contrary to popular belief, the government want you to succeed in business so will allow you to spend on certain items in your business without having to pay the tax for them.

In general, tax-deductible items will come under the following categories;

  • Travel
  • Office
  • Stock
  • Marketing
  • Legal & Financial

Travel Costs

fuel expenses

Any business-related car or van use may be allowed. Things such as;

  • Vehicle insurance
  • Fuel
  • Hire charges
  • Repairs
  • Servicing and breakdown cover

You are not able to claim these charges for general use such as driving to and from work but if your vehicle is genuinely used for work purposes, these allowances may be available for you.

It can be difficult to calculate your use if your vehicle is used for both personal and business. In this case, refer to the “simplified vehicle expenses” form on the government website where you will find a flat rate for each circumstance.

Under travel, you may also be able to claim for;

  • Train
  • Bus
  • Plane
  • Taxi
  • Hotel rooms
  • Evening meal during a business trip.

If you are taking a trip but it’s for a combination of personal and business, you will need to calculate how much is used for business and only submit that amount as allowable expenses.

Office Costs

postage expenses

There are many items that can be listed under allowable expenses whether you work from premises or your own home. It’s a little more complicated when you work from home which I will explain later.

The type of things you can possibly include are;

  • Stationary
  • Printing costs (including ink)
  • Postage

You can claim for equipment such as computers, printers and software but this may have to be claimed under your capital allowance if you don’t use cash basis accounting.

With regards to your premises, the following may be allowed;

  • Rent
  • Maintenance & repair
  • Utility bills
  • Property insurance & security.

If you work from home, you may be able to claim for a proportion of your utility bills, but you will need to work out what proportion is used for business and what is used personally.

Stock Costs

stock expenses

Your allowable expenses for your stock may include;

  • Stock held
  • Raw materials
  • Costs incurred from producing goods

Marketing Costs

marketing expenses

Most businesses need to budget for marketing costs and this is taken in to account when it comes to allowable expenses. They may cover the following;

  • Newspaper adverts
  • Directory listings
  • Mailshots
  • Free samples
  • Website

You may also be able to claim for certain subscriptions. An example of these would be;

  • Membership to trade bodies or professional membership organisations
  • Subscriptions to trade or professional journals

Legal & Financial Costs

legal expenses

There are some fees that are essential in business and they may be covered under allowable expenses. For example;

  • Accountancy fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Bank, overdraft and credit card charges (If used for business)
  • Interest on business loans
  • HP interest and leasing payments
  • Business insurance such as Public Liability Insurance

Other items that may be covered are;

  • Uniform or PPI
  • Staffs salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Pension contributions
  • Benefits
  • Agency Fees
  • Employer NI contributions.

This is just a guide and more information can be found on the gov.uk website. The most important thing to remember is that you will always need to prove these expenses so remember to keep a record of all receipts and invoices.

Outsourcing is actually a very realistic option for business owners so don’t be scared. If you’re still not sure, Rosemary Bookkeeping are more than happy to come and do a 1-2-1 health check with you and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself if you think you could benefit with no obligation, contact your local Rosemary Bookkeeper today.