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.