More business expenses explained: coaching, courses and clothes

Business Expenses Explained | Easy As VAT | tax, accountancy + bookkeeping help for bloggers, freelancers and small businesses

Since my last post about expenses, I've received lots more questions! So here's another post, demystifying what you can and can't claim as a business expense on your tax return.

This time I want to focus on more modern, or less obvious business expenses that you might be paying for.

Coaching

Business coaching is allowed, yay! As long as it relates to your business and will help you improve it.

Life coaching, on the other hand, wouldn't be allowed.

Something like mindset coaching is a bit of a grey area - you could argue that it's related to your business, but HMRC may challenge it.

Clothes

Clothes are generally NOT allowable as a business expense, even if you buy them specifically to wear for work.

However, there are certain circumstances in which clothing is an allowable business expense. Uniforms, costumes and protective clothing (e.g. a high vis vest or steel-toed boots) which are required for you to be able to carry out your job can be claimed.

Items branded for your business, for example a t-shirt with your company logo on, you may be able to claim as an advertising/marketing expense. However, it's a bit of a grey area. Here's HMRC's official party line:

"Fixing a permanent and conspicuous badge to what would otherwise be ordinary clothing may be enough to make it a uniform, but each case must be considered on its merits. The essential test is whether the employee would readily be recognised as wearing a uniform by the person in the street. A detachable badge is not sufficient to make the clothing to which it is attached part of a uniform."

Courses

Courses can be claimed as a business expense if they're being used to improve your current business.

If you're taking a course to learn a completely new skill, say you're a self-employed journalist but you want to train to become a yoga teacher, you wouldn't be able to claim your yoga teacher training as an expense.

Memberships

If you're a member of a professional body or organisation and you have to pay membership or subscription fees, you can claim the cost of these back as an expense if they're necessary or helpful for your business.

Here's a full list of professional bodies and organisations approved by HMRC.

Books

Books are fairly simple - if they're related to your business, or reference books, you can claim these as an expense.

Magazine or journal subscriptions are also deductible if they are relevant to your business activities

So that's it for now - if you have any more expenses questions, leave a comment below and I'll answer them in another post.


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