Disallowable expenses are things you can’t put on your tax return to reduce your tax bill. But which ones are those?
In this guide, I’ll explain what expenses you can’t put against your taxes (even if you consider them a business expense) and how to handle them when it comes to filling in your tax return.
Friendly Disclaimer: Whilst I am an accountant, I’m not your accountant. The information in this article is legally correct but it is for guidance and information purposes only. Everyone’s situation is different and unique so you’ll need to use your own best judgement when applying the advice that I give to your situation. If you are unsure or have a question be sure to contact a qualified professional because mistakes can result in penalties.
1. What are Disallowable Expenses?
Disallowable expenses are things that you pay for but cannot be claimed as a tax deduction, even if you feel they were paid for as part of running your business.
If you’re confused about how expenses reduce your tax bill, then read this guide to self-employed tax to learn more about how taxable business profit is calculated.
2. Examples of Disallowable Expenses
Here are some common HMRC disallowable expenses:
2.1 Travel from Home to Your Office
If you have chosen to rent an office or space from which to base yourself then any travel between your home to your office is not an allowable business expense.
If you are claiming business travel, read this guide to learn about which journies you can claim as a business expense
2.2 Client Entertainment
It may be entirely work-related but client entertainment is a disallowable expense. There are circumstances where you can buy a gift for your clients and can claim this as an allowable expense. However, if you take them out for a meal, even if it is to win a new contract or secure a business relationship, these costs cannot be claimed as an expense against your taxes.
2.3 Fines and Penalties
Any fines and penalties that you pay are a disallowable expense. That includes things like:
There are certain circumstances where someone who is self-employed can claim clothing on their tax return. This is because clothing is an allowable expense if it is:
- a uniform;
- protective clothing that you need for your work;
- costumes because you are an actor or entertainer.
Any other types of clothing will most likely be considered a disallowable expense. This would include everyday clothing or business suits.
Read this guide to find out more details about claiming for clothing when you’re self-employed.
Everyday lunches cannot be claimed as an expense against your self-employment taxes. But, if you are out and about, away from your normal place of work, then you may be able to claim for your lunches.
You’ll find more details about claiming meals and subsistence in this food guide.
2.6 Training for New Skills
Whilst you can expense any training you do to improve your skills and keep you on top of your game. Training costs for learning new skills are a disallowable cost. However, you may be able to claim these when you set up your new business.
3. Handling Disallowable Expenses on Self-Assessment Tax Returns
Disallowable expenses cannot be claimed against self-employment taxes and incorrect claims can result in HMRC penalties.