Tax relief for training costs

If you are self-employed it is important to know if an expense is tax allowable. Any allowable costs can be used to reduce your taxable profit.

As a general rule you can claim for items that you would normally use for less than 2 years as allowable expenses such as stationery and other office sundries as well as rent, rates, power and insurance costs.

HMRC lists the following office expenses as being allowable:

  • office costs, for example stationery or phone bills
  • travel costs, for example fuel, parking, train or bus fares
  • clothing expenses, for example uniforms
  • staff costs, for example salaries or subcontractor costs
  • things you buy to sell on, for example stock or raw materials
  • financial costs, for example insurance or bank charges
  • costs of your business premises, for example heating, lighting, business rates
  • advertising or marketing, for example website costs
  • training courses related to your business, for example refresher courses

Regarding training costs, you can claim training costs that help you:

  • improve skills and knowledge you currently use for your business;
  • keep up-to-date with technology used in your industry; 
  • develop new skills and knowledge related to changes in your industry; or
  • develop new skills and knowledge to support your business – this includes administrative skills.

You cannot claim for training courses that help you:

  • start a new business; or
  • expand into new areas of business that are not related to your current business activities.


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