Alert it’s the tax deadline coming up! Alert Alert! Yep, it’s that time of year again, the mad scramble to get your self-assessment filed on time. Now of course if you were super organised you’d already have it filed? Right…!

Ok, I live in the real world too. Stuff gets forgotten, you’ve trying to run a business, deal with Christmas, blah blah blah. Tax returns often get pushed to the back of the queue. But if you’ve not done it yet, now’s the time. Do it!

Trading as self-employed is a slightly different kettle of fish to running a company. There are different rules to what you can and can’t claim.

Let’s look at what you should be claiming for. (if you can…)

Your Complete Guide To Allowable Expenses For The Self Employed

Office Costs

  • Stationery, including phone and internet bills
  •  Postage, printing, ink cartridges (the most expensive liquid on the planet!)
  •  Rent
  •  Power
  •  Insurance
  •  Security 

If you’re renting an office these costs are pretty clear cut. If you’re working from home, you need to only claim for the part that’s used for business. (check out our earlier article for a complete guide to that one)

Travel Costs

  • Vehicle insurance
  •  Repairs and servicing
  •  Fuel
  •  Parking
  •  Tax
  •  Breakdown insurance
  •  Train tickets
  •  Taxi
  •  Hotels
  •  Meals whilst on a business trip

These only apply if you are using a vehicle for business use. You can’t claim for driving to and from a permanent place of work, but you can claim for mileage when travelling for business purposes. These rules are the same when it comes to meals. Your regular sushi lunch isn’t allowable but if you are visiting a client or customer then you can expense any meal. Oh, and you also can’t claim any fines. So stop dumping it on double yellows!

Clothing Expenses

Only a few allowable here I’m afraid

  • Uniforms
  •  PPE
  •  Anything else needed to do your job. Say a stripper… singer or magician 🙂

You can’t claim for things like suits or everyday clothing for work.


This one’s fairly simple. If you are employing anyone to help run your business, that is an allowable expense.

  • Staff salaries
  •  Bonuses
  •  Pensions
  •  Benefits
  •  Contractors
  •  Consultants

You can’t claim for your private chef, gardener or valet…sorry about that m’lord (duck houses might be ok though…kidding)

Raw materials

You’re going to want to claim this one if it applies.

  • Any goods you buy to resell
  •  Any raw materials used to make something you sell
  •  Any costs associated with making those goods

As always, it all must be for business use.

Financial costs

Our accounting fees are deductible, as are solicitors, architects or other experts needed. You, unfortunately, don’t get to claim for any fines you’ve received for breaking the law (sorry!). Insurance policies related to your business is ok, as are any bank fees, credit card charges. When it comes to loans, the interest is deductible, but the repayment part is not.

Leasing and hire purchase interest is also allowable.


You need customers through the door, so all marketing expenses are allowable.

Including things like:

  • Advertising in a magazine
  •  Bulk snail mail
  •  Website costs
  •  Online ads
  •  Anything you use to help bring in business is usually allowable

You can also claim for any training course for you and your staff. Any subscriptions to professional trade-related publications and any memberships to a related organisation. For Eg National Federation of Roofing if you are a roofer.

Gym memberships aren’t allowable nor are charity donations… That pretty much covers 90% of expense claims out there. If in doubt give us a call or send us a quick email we can give you some free advice on what you can and can’t claim.

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