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You are self-employed so what can you claim back so you can be tax efficient?

Updated: Aug 10, 2023



The main two things I am asked when looking at what can I put through my business is how best to run travel and can I put through work clothes?


For travelling the simple answer is ……… it depends, it depends on lots of factors. Do you own a car or a van, is it solely for business use and can you prove it? Each situation is different and not one size fits all. My advice is to check with your Bookkeeper and Accountant that they understand what is allowable and keep them informed if you make any changes to your travel circumstances. You might be better off claiming business mileage if you have a personal car, but you must remember not to claim for going to and from your office. I had one incident where the client had claimed for business mileage from his home to a client but this was disallowed as should have been from the office to the client even though this was more miles as his home was closer to the office so the client thought he was doing the right thing, but HMRC wanted him to change it and claim more.


Work clothes is fairly clear cut, you can only claim for uniforms, protective clothing needed for your work and costumes for actors or entertainers. No, you can’t claim for designer clothes and say it’s your uniform, HMRC means if it’s logo’d up and even better that it’s not something you want to be seen dead in on a night out with friends.


If you do speak to HMRC about what you can claim and they have given you any advice, ask for a reference as sometimes their advice is based on their opinion on what they think the legislation means and they too can get it wrong. Getting a reference is relevant on any advice you may get from HMRC, not just for understanding on expenses.






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