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Self-employed: which expenses can you claim?

  • 3 min read
  • Last updated 10 May 2022

If you’re self-employed, there are a number of expenses you claim, depending on your occupation. There are two main ways to claim your self-employed expenses.

Claiming the Trading Allowance

The first way is to simply claim a flat £1,000 as a self-employed Trading Allowance.

  • It’s super easy to do
  • All sole traders qualify: construction workers, freelancers, etc.
  • You don’t need to worry about keeping receipts

If you choose this to claim this allowance, you won’t be able to claim any other expenses or allowances.

Claiming business expenses

It makes more sense to claim every business expense if your total expenses are over £1,000 per tax year. Similar to what we mentioned above, if you claim expenses, you won’t be able to claim the Trading Allowance.

If you are claiming expenses, don’t forget to keep a in depth record of them, along with all your business receipts. Bank statements can sometimes work instead, but it’s best to stay on the safe side!

You claim on your Self Assessment tax return, so make sure you register for it with HMRC if this is your first one.

What specific expenses can I claim?

Type of expense Can I claim it? How much can I claim?
Home rent Yes Either claim the percentage that you use your home for work, or a flat home office allowance
Office rent Yes 100%
Co-working space Yes 100%
Home insurance Yes Same as for home rent
Home utilities (electric bill, phone bill, etc.) Yes Same as for home rent
Home repairs Yes Same as for home rent
Office decorations Yes 100%
Home mortgage payments Not really Only a part of the interest on mortgage – similar to how you claim rent. You’re probably better off using the flat home office allowance
Laptop for work Yes 100%
Phone for work Yes 100%
Antivirus, Office software Yes 100%
Paper and pens for work Yes 100%
Printing Yes 100%
Protective gear for construction work Only if your contractor is not already providing you with it 100%
Special uniforms Only if your contractor is not already providing you with it 100%
Business suit No
Car insurance Yes Use the percentage that you use your car for work. Keep the invoice. Or just use the flat mileage allowance
Fuel Yes Use the percentage that you use your car for work. Keep the invoice. Or just use the flat mileage allowance
Parking fees Yes Use the percentage that you use your car for work. Keep the invoice. Or just use the flat mileage allowance
Taxi fares Yes Only trips for work – keep the receipts
Personal travel No
Parking fines No
Travel from home to regular workplace No
Hiring other people (subcontracting work) Yes 100%
Buying goods for resale (e.g. on eBay) Yes 100%
Buying raw goods for production (e.g. you’re making and selling hats on Etsy) Yes 100%
TaxScouts’ fee Yes 100%
Accountant fees Yes 100%
Bank, overdraft, and credit card fees Yes If you’re using cash basis then you can only claim up to £500. Otherwise 100%
Interest on loans Only if they are for work 100%
Leasing payments Only if they are for work 100%
Business insurance Only if it’s for work 100%
Bad customers Only if you’re using traditional accounting 100%
Advertising (newspapers, local Google Ads, etc.) Yes 100%
Website development, hosting, domain name, etc. Yes 100%
Meals with clients or suppliers Yes 100%
Drinks with clients or suppliers No

Is one of your self-employed expenses mileage?

Try out our Mileage Allowance calculator to work out what you can claim depending on the vehicle you’re using.

Do you own the vehicle you use for work?
Did you buy the vehicle specifically to use for work?
Type of vehicle
How many miles do you drive per year?
If you’re self-employed and use your car for work, you can claim back a flat rate for your usage costs using the Mileage Allowance. If you’re employed, claim the mileage tax relief instead.
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