I'm self-employed - what expenses can I claim?

If you're self employed, you'll be earning money and paying for things.

This article covers the expenses that you can claim - you'll be marking them as "business expenses" in untied.

untied tip if your expenses are less than £1,000

Expenses are only worth tracking if they are greater than £1,000 a year ... the reason is that you're allowed to claim up to £1,000 as an allowance without needing paperwork.

There is one thing to note - you can't create a loss by doing so ... it means that if you're earning £5,000 you can claim £1,000. If you're earning £800, you can claim £800.

What can you claim

In general, you can claim the costs of running your business. It will include things like:

- things that you buy to sell on
- office or factory space
- costs of people you pay
- travel costs when you're on business (but not the costs of getting to or from work)
- marketing
- websites, stationery
- commissions that you pay
- finance costs including business loans and charges that you may pay for accepting credit cards
- car, motorbike and bicycle costs (see below)
- costs of working from home (see below)
- office equipment including computers
- training

Can I claim VAT?

Larger businesses get the VAT back on things they buy, but also have to charge VAT to their customers. It means that normally they would be paying VAT to HMRC.

Assuming you are not VAT registered (you won't need to be unless your sales hit £85,000), you can claim the full cost including VAT.

Vans, cars, motorbikes and bicycles

If you have a vehicle which is just used for business, then it would be owned by the business. And you can claim expenses as business expenses.

However, for most self-employed people, you'll be using your private vehicle for business purposes (untied tip - make sure that your insurance covers you!). In this case, you could work out the business proportion ... you can use untied to allocate that percentage. Or more likely you'll be claiming business mileage - that's the easiest way to do it! We've linked to other help articles that may be useful.

Working from home

If you work from home, you can claim either a business proportion of your costs of electricity, gas, internet etc. Or you can claim a fixed rate. If you're on untied Pro, we'll help you do this with a quick wizard. 

What can't I claim

There are always exceptions ... one thing you can't claim is entertainment including taking customers out for dinner. If in doubt, you can ask untied (look for the dropdown tag) for information or check with HMRC.

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