Training courses can be expensive, in this blog we are going to focus on the self employed.
The key rules are contained in BIM42526
Specific deductions: administration: own training courses
Provided it is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade carried on by the individual at the time the training is undertaken, expenditure on training courses attended by the proprietor of a business (either as a sole trader, or in partnership with others) with the purpose of up-dating their skills and professional expertise is normally revenue expenditure, which is deductible from the profits of the business.
Business purpose test
In considering the question of purpose, you should not take an unduly narrow view of whether the content of any particular course only up-dates existing skills of the individual. But if it is clear that, for example, a completely new specialisation or qualification will be acquired as a result of the expenditure, it is unlikely that the expenditure will be wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the existing trade.
Expenditure on new skills etc may also be capital if what is acquired can be viewed as an identifiable asset of sufficient substance and endurance. See Dass v Special Commissioner and others  EWHC2491 (Ch)
Let’s take the example of Property Courses
There are many property courses available for investors, often the investors are self employed/sole traders/individual investors, the courses can cost thousands.
What courses are claimable:
- Improving your skills – for example you have a basic understanding of finances but want improve your knowledge of tax
What courses are not claimable:
- Beginners Day/Novice Courses – any course for beginners or novices would suggest you have no previous knowledge so they won’t be allowed
- New Skills – you want to learn something new for example you currently let property and want to learn how to do property development
If the course is disallowed the travel costs will also be disallowed
What about companies?
The rules for companies are much easier to comply with and written with a much wider scope..
Section 250 Exemption of work-related training provision
(1)No liability to income tax arises by virtue of—
(a)the provision for an employee of work-related training or any benefit incidental to such training, or
(b)the payment or reimbursement to or in respect of an employee of—
(i)the cost of work-related training or of any benefit incidental to such training, or
(ii)any costs of a kind specified in subsection (2) in respect of such training.
(2)The costs are—
(a)costs which are incidental to the employee undertaking the training,
(b)expenses incurred in connection with an examination or other assessment of what the employee has gained from the training, and
(c)the cost of obtaining any qualification, registration or award to which the employee becomes or may become entitled as a result of the training or such an examination or other assessment.
Section 251 Meaning of “work-related training”
(1)In this Chapter “work-related training”, in relation to an employee, means a training course or other activity designed to impart, instil, improve or reinforce any knowledge, skills or personal qualities which—
(a)are likely to prove useful to the employee when performing the duties of the employment or a related employment, or
(b)will qualify or better qualify the employee—
(i)to perform those duties, or
(ii)to participate in any charitable or voluntary activities that are available to be performed in association with the employment or a related employment.
(2)For this purpose “related employment”, in relation to an employee, means another employment with the same employer, or with a person connected with the employer, which the employee—
(a)is to hold,
(b)has a serious opportunity of holding, or
(c)can realistically expect to have a serious opportunity of holding in due course.