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Self-employed allowable expenses list​

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 You can claim tax back on some of the costs of running your business—what HMRC calls allowable expenses. These appear as costs in your business accounts deducted from the profit you pay tax on.

For example, if your turnover is £80,000 and you claim £20,000 in allowable expenses, you only pay tax on the remaining £60,000—a substantial saving.

Office equipment and tools

You can claim expenses for business equipment such as laptops, PCs, printers, and computer software that your business has used for less than two years. You can’t claim tax back on small tools.

Stationery and comms

As well as the usual paper, envelopes and pens, you can also claim back tax on postage and printing, including the costs of printer ink and cartridges that you use as part of your business.

With more businesses now trading online, this allowance also applies to electronic communications – so you can claim tax back on your business phone, mobile and internet bills.

Phone and Internet

If you use your phone, mobile and internet for personal and business use, you’ll need to demonstrate a realistic way of dividing the costs and can only claim tax back on the part for business use.

Professional and Financial Services

If you get advice from an accountant, lawyer or other professional as part of your business, you can claim tax back on their fees.

You can also claim allowable expenses for hiring surveyors and architects for your business, just not for personal home improvements.

If you have a business bank account, you can claim tax relief on bank, overdraft and credit card charges or interest on business loans.

Stocks and Materials

You can claim tax back on the following:

  • Items that you resell, e.g. stock

  • Raw materials that you use to make goods for sale

  • Direct costs from producing goods.

Travel Costs

There’s a host of allowable expenses you can claim for if you must travel for business, including train, bus, taxi, airfares, and accommodation costs.

But these only apply if the primary reason for your journey or stay was for business.

If you take a trip that combines business and pleasure, you can only claim tax relief on costs that you can show are separate from the private part of your journey.

If you can’t split up the costs, you can’t claim tax relief on any part.

Car/Vehicle and Mileage

You can keep track of fuel consumption for the year or claim back estimated mileage over the year. We have a calculator in the Self Assessment form that will convert mileage into an estimated claimable figure. You can also claim for Parking, breakdown cover and hire charges that relate to your business.

Clothing and Food

Generally, you can’t claim for clothing if it’s something you’d wear as part of an everyday wardrobe. So, even if you’ve bought a suit for work, you can’t claim for its cost. You can’t claim for non-uniform items such as shoes and socks.

You can only claim money back on food and drink if it’s a business expense, meaning it must be outside your usual working routine, such as a business trip.

Pension Contributions 

Contributions to your pension are not a business expense, so they don’t affect your self-employed profits. However, you are eligible for tax relief on any contributions you make, which your pension provider will automatically claim.

Staff and Employee Costs

You can claim tax relief on employee and staff salaries, bonuses, pensions, benefits, staff and employee costs, agency fees, subcontractors, and employer’s National Insurance contributions.

Marketing and Advertising

You can claim tax back on the costs of advertising and marketing your business, including costs for hosting and maintaining your company website.

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