Crazy business expense claims

Freelancers and home workers will be familiar with expense claims. But none will be as crazy as these ones…we hope

From travel costs to office supplies, freelancers, home workers and even office-bound colleagues all submit expense claims at some point.

And while we might try and sneak in things like coffee or some new pens, others have a wider definition of what class as genuine work expenses.

HMRC has release details of some of the more outlandish expense claims made.

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “Year after year, we receive a number of ludicrous expense claims, ranging from international holiday flights to expensive designer clothing, which we would never uphold.”

There are a plenty of viable expenses you can claim to help you save money if you’re self-employed. These include travel and accommodation costs, mortgage interest and council tax.

But the following examples are bold enough to make an MP blush…

The top ten:

1. Holiday flights to the Caribbean. Most self-employed don’t get any holiday pay, never mind flights to exotic locations.

2. Luxury watches as Christmas gifts for staff. HMRC allows a business gift worth up to £50 to any one person in any one tax year. This claim was made crazier by the fact it came from a company with no employees.

3. International flights for dental treatment ahead of business meetings. Looking good for a meeting is one thing, this is another issue completely.

4. Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’. Guard dogs are a bit of grey area when it comes to expense claims – but claiming that a tiny Shih Tzu is performing this role is a bit silly.

5. Armani jeans as protective clothing for painter and decorator. While you can claim for protective clothing, it’s hard to argue that designer jeans falls into this category.

6. Friday night ‘bonding sessions’. Smaller events can be exempt from tax, if they’re under £150. These ‘sessions’ ran into thousands of pounds.

7. Underwear for personal use. Who knows what underwear for business use is.

8. A garden shed for private use. There are ways to reduce your tax burden by setting up an office in your garden. But having a shed for private use is not one of them.

9. Betting slips. Even for work parties, you’d be pushing your luck to saying betting was a legitimate expense.

10. Caravan rental for the Easter weekend. Again, this falls into the personal use, not business use.


Posted by The Secret Businessman