Personal Professional Expenses – What can I claim?
21.01.2020 , BY Katie Singer
21.01.2020 , BY Katie Singer
Make no mistake, even as accountants we appreciate that no one enjoys doing their tax return! However, whilst we put together most of your figures, it is really important that each year, when collating self-assessment tax return information, you provide us with your personal professional expense claims. As a self-employed individual the tax man puts the onus on you to come forward with your expenses and declare them against your business income. In early April each year, we send round our standard claim form https://www.rbp.co.uk/images/PPE-Master-Form.pdf which provides guidance for the usual expenses a medical practitioner would incur and which the tax man deems reasonable to claim. Please note that your expenses should always run to the same year end as your practice accounts.
To make it easier for you, one option of keeping all your expenditure in one place is to have a separate credit card (there are hundreds of options out there that are cheap and come with their own rewards such as clubcard points, money off clothing, loyalty schemes etc.). By having a separate credit card, all you would need to do at the end of the tax year is go through 12 credit card statements and check they are all work related. If you don’t have a separate credit card, keeping your expenses collated in one place, such as a book or wallet or even better, logging each expense as and when it occurs on an Excel spreadsheet is optimal but we appreciate this will be for the more tech savvy of you.
There are also mobile phone apps such as Expensify which record your expenses by you using your phone camera to take a photo of the receipt and it will categorise it by type i.e. motor expenses, telephone, stationery etc. In this current technological era, there is an app for everything so do have a look out on the app store for them as they are very often free. There are even a few banks who have their own version of a receipt app available so this may already be a facility available for you to use if you have mobile banking.
Regardless of how you chose to record your expenses, it is important to claim for everything that is relevant. If you refer to the claim form above you will see there are numerous categories of expenses that we believe you should always make a claim for.
Firstly, there is always going to be an element of working from home and therefore, we deem it reasonable to claim a blanket £10 per week for doing so. This would cover reviewing private medicals, booking locums, printing invoices as well as doing at home study, research and reading.
You will also have telephones that can be claimed. A proportion (although small) of your home and mobile telephone bills can also be claimed. It may be the case, especially if you are in a practice where you offer telephone triage, that you are using your mobile phone more and more for work purposes and the tax man is happy for you to claim a percentage of the bill for this.
Other home expenses we would recommend telling us about, if applicable, would be your home internet costs and any computer expenses you have. These would also include the costs of new computers, new phones, new printers along with paper and ink cartridges required.
You can always claim your professional subscriptions such as BMA, GMC and RCGP membership fees. Historically your MDU / MPS / MDDUS indemnity fees would have been significantly higher but even the reduced rate you now pay can be claimed in full on your tax return.
Finally, travel is a very common expense which is claimed for. Depending on how you commute and where you commute, this will vary the claim but bear in mind that you cannot claim for travel from home to your usual place of work. If you regularly work at one (or multiple) surgeries each week then travel to those is not allowable. The travel from the surgery to a patient’s home or to a course would be but this will not be the usual bulk of work travel. Please do advise us if the mode of travel is different to a car because you can still claim for bike, train and taxi travel (as long as they are allowable).
Other expenses, which you may find you have on occasion, are professional dry cleaning for soiling incurred during surgery; courses and conferences including travel and accommodation charges, if they are residential (please bear in mind there are restrictions on courses and we do review these before claiming), stationery, locum insurance, professional fees and payments to a spouse or partner for administrative work. If you are going to pay a spouse or partner for assistance and you do not want to set up a payroll you must ensure they are not paid more than £118 per week (£6,136). This payment must be made into an account in your spouse’s/partner’s own name and not a joint account.
Once you have completed your tax return each year, you must retain your records for at least 6 years, just in case HMRC request them from you. Going forward this will be easier and easier as we move into a more online and paperless world so there will be folders on your desktop containing files as opposed to shoeboxes containing receipts.
If throughout the year you have any questions regarding an expense and whether it is allowable for tax purposes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your dedicated RBP tax manager.