Sole-trader expenses claim confusion. Help!


I am a sole trader and working as a full time employee too.

I would like to know about claiming expenses.

below are the expenses claim I see from the UK gov website

  1. "Office, property and equipment
    Car, van and travel expenses
    Clothing expenses
    Staff expenses
    Reselling goods
    Legal and financial costs
    Marketing, entertainment and subscriptions
    Training courses"
under this
"You may be able to claim a proportion of your costs for things like:

  • heating
  • electricity
  • Council Tax
  • mortgage interest or rent
  • internet and telephone use"
So what percent of the council tax I can claim. I pay £2200/year for council tax. Can I claim complete £2200 or 20% of £2200?

Like wise for mortgage, mobile bill, internet, personal computer?

For my business i use around 50 to 60 usb drive / year. which will cost £180. courier cost will be £180. So total is £360. So can I claim £360 expense or 20% of £360?

Also interest on mortgage, I pay 4.6% interest so can I claim complete 4.6% or 20% of the 4.6% ?

Any help is appreciated


  • I do apologise for stating this - but you really do need professional advice judging by the questions posed. Where are you getting 20% from? Are you thinking that you claim the tax rate on expenditure?

    Office property and equipment are capital expenditure. Google capital allowances!

    You can claim a business proportion of car, van and travel expenses.

    Protective clothing - potentially.
    Reselling goods - not an expense but included in turnover. 

    Legal and professional costs such as accountancy are allowable. 

    Your training courses - not allowable. For staff - Yes!

    You can claim a business proportion of electric, heat etc. if you use a specific room in your home. Note the HMRC use of the word ‘May’. Again - where is 20%? You cannot simply decide that, because you have a mortgage, and you work from home, that all of the mortgage interest is relievable. If any was able to be claimed you may also need to inform your lender and, in the event of a future home sale, the part claimed for business may attract capital gains tax. Similarly for council tax. Neither £2200 nor 20% of £2200 seem remotely applicable.

    Again you seem to be of the opinion that you can claim the 20% tax on the expense. The £360 that you mention reduces your profit - it does not reduce your tax by £360.

    Finally - are you absolutely confident that any return that you submit will be accurate in all respects? You are ultimately responsible for the submission - it is self-assessment after all. Please engage an adviser - it could save you a lot of grief and expense in the long run. 
  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,297
    First Post Name Dropper
    What's the nature of your part time business? 
  • zedonk
    zedonk Posts: 52
    Photogenic First Post
    I'm also confused about where you're getting the 20% from!

    When you file your tax return, you enter your turnover from your business (sales) and your expenses. The difference is your profit and that's what you pay tax on. So if you spend £180 on couriers for your business, you would enter the full £180, but that doesn't mean your tax bill would reduce by £180. It might reduce by 29% of £180 (20% tax and 9% NI) but this depends on where you are with the various thresholds. 

    Your expenses can include a proportion of your heating costs (etc.) if you work from home. This is calculated based on how much of your home is used for business. As a simplified example, if your house has 10 rooms and one of them is your office that you only use for your business, you might be able to claim 10% of your heating costs - again, this reduces your taxable income, it isn't taken directly off your tax bill.

    I would second the suggestion to get some professional advice with all this. I don't know if they still run them, but when I was starting out HMRC did free workshops on how to do your accounts and complete a tax return. 
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