Home Rules Business Tax Allowable Expenses › List of Claimable Items
List of Allowed Expenses for Self-employed

This section lists items self-employed workers can claim as allowable expenses. It includes things like office costs, clothing, staff, travel, and marketing expenses.

LIST OF OFFICE EXPENSES: There are many office items that you would usually use for less than two (2) years.

You can claim the majority of these as allowable expenses. Some typical examples include office stationery, power, rent, rates, and the insurance costs.

But, you might keep some equipment to use in the business for longer than 2 years (e.g. computers, printers). In this case:

  • Claim allowable expenses if your business uses cash basis accounting.
  • Claim capital allowances if your business uses traditional accounting.

Note: There may be some office resources that you use outside of the business (e.g. computer, phone). You cannot claim for non-business use of these items (including the office premises).

Stationery Allowable Expenses

There is a long list of office stationery costs you can claim as expenses including:

  • Phone, mobile phone, fax costs, and Internet bills.
  • Printing, postage and stationery items.
  • Printer ink and printer cartridges.
  • Computer software that the business uses for less than two (2) years.
  • Computer software whereby the business makes regular payments to renew the licence. This applies even when used for more than 2 years.

Note: As a rule you should claim other software used in the business as capital allowances. The exception might be if you use cash basis reporting.

Office Costs for Rent, Rates, Insurance, and Power

The list of office expenses you can claim also includes:

  • Business rates and water rates.
  • Rental payments for business premises.
  • Property insurance and security costs.
  • Using part of your home as a business office.
  • Utility bills (e.g. gas, electric).

Business Premises

There are some things you cannot claim as expenses or allowances. For example, buying building premises does qualify as allowable expenses for office costs.

But, you can claim expenses for the repair and maintenance of business premises and some equipment. Thus, if you need to alter the building to install or replace equipment you can claim:

  • Claim allowable expenses if your business uses cash basis accounting.
  • Claim capital allowances if your business uses traditional accounting.

You can claim for integral features if they create part of a building structure such as:

  • Electrical systems (includes lighting systems).
  • Escalators, lifts, and moving walkways.
  • Hot and cold water systems (not kitchen and toilet facilities).
  • Space and water heating systems.

List of Car, Van, and Travel Expenses

You can claim these listed items as allowable business expenses if you are self-employed:

  • bus, train, air, and taxi fares
  • Fuel, parking, and hire charges
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Meals taken on overnight business trips
  • Vehicle breakdown cover, repairs, and servicing
  • Vehicle insurance and licence fees
  • But, you will not be able to for:

    • Fines
    • Non-business driving or travel costs
    • The cost of travel between home and work

    Note: There is a simpler system for calculating car, van, or motorcycle expenses. The simple flat rate scheme is better known as simplified expenses. It bases travel expenses on mileage instead of the actual costs of buying and running a vehicle.

Buying a Vehicle for the Business

What if you use traditional accounting and decide to buy a vehicle for the business? In this case, you can claim it as a capital allowance. The same applies if you buy a car and use cash basis providing you do not use simplified expenses. Claim all other types of vehicles as allowable expenses.

List of Claimable Clothing Expenses

As a self-employed person you can claim allowable business expenses on clothing items such as:

  • Costumes for actors or entertainers
  • Protective clothing needed for the type of work you do
  • Uniforms

Note: The allowable expenses if you are self-employed do not cover everyday clothing (even if it gets worn for work).

Staff Expenses You Can Claim

Certain staff costs qualify for allowable business expenses such as:

  • Agency fees
  • Benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Employee and staff salaries
  • Employer National Insurance
  • Pensions
  • Subcontractors

Note: You will not be able to claim for carers or for domestic help (e.g. hiring a nanny).

Allowable Expenses and Reselling Goods

The list of claimable allowable business expenses includes some resalable goods like:

  • Direct costs from producing goods
  • Goods for resale (stock items)
  • Raw materials

But, you cannot claim for things like:

  • Depreciation of equipment
  • Goods or materials bought for private use

Expenses for Marketing, Entertainment, and Subscriptions

The list of allowable business expenses you can claim includes:

  • Advertising in newspapers or directories
  • Bulk mail advertising (e.g. mailshots)
  • Free samples
  • Website costs

But, the allowable expenses for self-employed does not cover:

  • Entertaining clients, suppliers, and customers
  • Event hospitality

Subscriptions you can claim for include:

  • Trade body or professional organisation membership (providing it relates to the business)
  • Trade or professional journals

Subscriptions you cannot claim for include:

List of Allowable Expenses Self-employed Can Claim in the United Kingdom