When is Mortgage Interest a tax allowable expense? Reply


There are ways that you can claim tax relief for your mortgage interest.

Qualifying Loan Interest Relief

Often when you start a business you will need to borrow money personally to lend to your new company or buy shares.

You might borrow by increasing your mortgage.

You may be entitled to claim tax relief for interest paid on a loan or alternative finance arrangement used to buy:

  • shares in, or to fund, a ‘close’ company (contact your HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) office if you are not sure if the company is ‘close’)
  • an interest in, or to fund, a partnership
  • plant or machinery for your work (but make sure you do not claim this interest twice, you will do if you have already deducted it as a business expense)

If you receive a low-interest or interest free loan from your employer for one of the above purposes you may be able to claim relief for any benefit taxable on you.

This is called ‘Qualifying loan interest relief’, HMRC have a helpsheet which gives further details HS340

Property Investors/Buy to Let

At the moment property investors can also offset mortgage relief against their profits but the rules are changing.

2017/18 75% of the interest can be claimed in full and 25% will get relief at 20%

2018/19 50% of the interest can be claimed in full and 50% will get relief at 20%

2019/20 25% of the interest can be claimed in full and 75% will get relief at 20%

2020/21 100% will get only 20% relief

For a 20% tax payer that’s fine but for higher rate taxpayer its a disaster that will lead to them paying a lot more tax

These rules will not apply to Companies, Companies will continue to claim full relief.

How much can you borrow?

In summary if you re-mortgage above the original market value and you own the property personally and take out the cash you will not be able to claim relief from interest on the part above the original market value

If however you borrow to invest in another property that is ok.


Have your employees got a S336 tax claim? Reply

Pay Packet And Banknotes


Basically, if an employer makes a declaration on the P11D, which the employee and HMRC agree can be counted as tax deductible, this is referred to as a S336 Claim. In order to claim the employee would need to show the expense was wholly and exclusively for business.


Here are some suggestions of expenses employees may claim….

  1. Flat Rate Expenses by Occupation – HMRC have a list EIM32712 for example Healthcare staff in the National Health Service, private hospitals and nursing homesUniformed ancillary staff: maintenance workers, grounds staff, drivers, parking attendants and security guards, receptionists and other uniformed staff – get a flat rate of £60 per year – this link explains how it works – Money Saving Expert
  2. Mileage in your own vehicle on business – the approved rates are list below if your employer pays you mileage already deduct the rate from the amounts below and claim the difference

Tax: rates per business mile

Type of vehicle First 10,000 miles Above 10,000 miles
Cars and vans 45p (40p before 2011 to 2012) 25p
Motorcycles 24p 24p
Bikes 20p 20p

     3. Professional Subscriptions – if you personally pay for a professional subscription that you need for your work you can claim the cost against tax – here is a list of HMRC approved  professional organisations

4. Traveling Costs – you may have business travel costs for hotels and meals that haven’t been reimbursed and these costs can be reclaimed against your tax

5. Working from Homemaximum of £4 per week

6. Uniform not covered by a Flat Rate – read this blog

7. Trainingwhere training was an intrinsic contractual duty of the employment (see also EIM32535 & EIM32546) and where any personal benefit, unlike most CPE/CPD courses, would be incidental and not therefore give rise to a dual purpose of the expenditure.

8. Other costs – where the cost is wholly and exclusively for business

Form P87

If you are an employee use this form to tell HMRC about employment expenses you have had to pay during the year for which tax relief is due.
Only fill in this form if your allowable expenses are less than £2,500 for the year.
If your claim is more than £2,500 you will need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return. Please contact the Self Assessment Helpline on 0300 200 3310 or register at
You must fill in a separate P87 for each employment for which you are claiming.
If you have not paid any tax during the year no refund will be due.



What expenses can the self employed claim? Reply

Business people group.

The UK has seen the fastest growth in self-employment in Western Europe over the past year, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

There are many types of expense that you can claim and HMRC have just created a new guide…

HMRC expenses


Pre Trading expenses

Many business owners incur in costs before they actually start in business. You can go back up to 7 years can claim costs as pre-trading expenses.

Let’s says you want to start a home based business, you need to create an office at home or build an office in the garden. This means that you have building costs as well as equipment costs before you start trading. These costs are submitted to the new business as an expense claim by the owner on the first day the business starts.

Also you might have legal cost for contracts or renting offices or equipment, you could have costs for product development, stock, samples, or even a motor vehicle.

You can check more about pre-trading expenses legislation.gov.uk or at HMRC.

However, what happens when you have paid VAT prior being VAT registered? You can reclaim any VAT you are charged on goods or services that you use to set up your business.

Normally, this will include:

  • VAT on goods you bought for your business within the last 4 years and which you have not yet sold
  • VAT on services, which you received not more than 6 months before your date of registration

You should include this VAT on your first VAT return. If you have doubts as to whether you should be VAT registered or not, take a look at VAT Notice 700/1: should I be registered for VAT.

Simplified or Actual Expenses

Simplified expenses are a way of calculating some of your business expenses using flat rates instead of working out your actual business costs. You don’t have to use simplified expenses. You can just decide if it suits your business or not.

Simplified expenses can be used by:

  • sole traders
  • business partnerships that have no companies as partners

You can use flat rates for:

  • business costs for vehicles
  • working from home
  • living in your business premises

You must calculate all other expenses by working out the actual costs.

In order to find out which method works best for you, you can use the Government expense checker

Don’t forget Capital Allowances and the Annual Investment Allowance

Buying equipment, even if it’s on finance, is a great way to reduce your tax bill, the 100% AIA can be used on the date you buy the asset.

Currently, the Annual Investment Allowance is £500,000 and this has been reduced to £200,000 in January 2016.

It is not necessary to claim the maximum capital allowances available or even claim them at all, crazy as it might sound there are situations when not claiming capital allowances can reduce your tax bill!

Sole Trader Example

The personal tax allowance is currently £10,600 (2015/16)

Let’s assume profits are £15,000 and Capital Allowances available are £5,000, so that would reduce taxable profits to £10,000 which would waste £600 of the personal tax allowance.

It would therefore be better to only claim £4,400 in capital allowances and claim the remaining £600 in the following year.

Employers are saving £6k by opting for Self Employed Freelancers…

A survey by PeoplePerHour has shown that the self-employed segment of the labour market in both the UK and USA is growing at a rate of 3.5% per year – faster than any other sector. Should this growth continue for the next five years, researchers predict that half of the working population could be self-employed freelancers by 2020.

The survey also suggests that small businesses that hire freelancers instead of full-time employees could save £6,297.17 per annum. The survey shows that the average waste or spare capacity for each employee in a SMEs is 1.9 hours per day.

The research identifies a number of key drivers behind the shift from employment to self-employment, including “the availability of ubiquitous and inexpensive computing power, sophisticated applications and cloud-based services“. [Lawdonut]


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Are you ready for the changes to employee expenses? 1

Pay for woman.

From April 2016 all employee expense Dispensations agreed with HMRC will cease to apply!

You will need new systems for checking expenses, HMRC will be supply examples.

Expenses which are not covered by benchmark scale rates are likely to paid and taxed via the payroll with the employee claiming relief through P87 and Self Assessment SA100.


Are you ready for the new regime?


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Beware of letting your accounts become a shambles Reply

Unhappy office worker on the phone, isolated on white

It’s not uncommon for Directors and Senior Employees to get behind with their expense claims and paperwork, they are busy people trying to build their businesses and sometimes the paperwork gets put to one side.

But lets consider the recent HMRC case against the Directors of RSL (NorthEast) Ltd. Mr White was Director of RSL and he had a company credit card which he used for business and personal expenses, he travelled extensively on company business. Unfortunately RSL became insolvent, so HMRC assessed Mr White on credit card expenses as a benefit in kind.

Mr White appealed on the basis that he had lent the company large amounts of his own money and any credit card expenses were just a reimbursement.

HMRC argued…

  • Section 203(2) ITEPA does not grant any right to retrospectively make good a benefit. Income tax is an annual tax, and the value of the benefit depends upon what is made good in that tax year.”
  • “Any “rewriting” [to reflect the money reimbursed to RSL] would have a retrospective effect on the Company accounts.” HMRC implied that this would not be allowed.

HMRC won the case, but mainly because the accounts were in a terrible shambles!

What can we learn from this?

  1. Keep good records, don’t put off doing your accounts!
  2. If you do get behind you do a have a ‘reasonable time to make good’ as noted in HMRC’s manuals http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/EIM21121.htm


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10 ways to pay less income tax Reply

Pay Packet And Banknotes

Income Tax is a tax you pay on your income. You don’t have to pay tax on all types of income.

You pay tax on things like:

  • money you earn from employment
  • profits you make if you’re self-employed – including from services you sell through websites or apps
  • some state benefits
  • most pensions, including state pensions, company and personal pensions and retirement annuities
  • interest on savings and pensioner bonds
  • rental income (unless you’re a live-in landlord and get £4,250 (£7,500 from April 2016) or less)
  • benefits you get from your job
  • income from a trust
  • dividends from company shares

So how can you pay less income tax?

Here are 10 suggestions…

  1. Pension

When you pay into a pension you get income tax relief on your contributions .

Lets say you invest £10,000 per year of earned gross income, increasing each year by 3% for inflation and see the effect of tax relief at 40% and 20%, assuming a return on the investment of 7% (which you should get with Commercial Property Investment)

40% Tax Rate 20% Tax Rate
Year Pension No Pension % Diff Year Pension No Pension % Diff
1 £10,700 £6,252 71% 1 £10,700 £8,336 28%
2 £22,470 £12,954 73% 2 £22,470 £17,272 30%
3 £35,395 £20,131 76% 3 £35,395 £26,841 32%
4 £49,564 £27,808 78% 4 £49,564 £37,078 34%
5 £65,077 £36,013 81% 5 £65,077 £48,017 36%
6 £82,036 £44,773 83% 6 £82,036 £59,698 37%
7 £100,555 £54,119 86% 7 £100,555 £72,158 39%
8 £120,754 £64,081 88% 8 £120,754 £85,441 41%
9 £142,761 £74,692 91% 9 £142,761 £99,590 43%
10 £166,715 £85,987 94% 10 £166,715 £114,649 45%
11 £192,765 £98,000 97% 11 £192,765 £130,667 48%
12 £221,070 £110,771 100% 12 £221,070 £147,694 50%
13 £251,801 £124,337 103% 13 £251,801 £165,782 52%
14 £285,140 £138,740 106% 14 £285,140 £184,987 54%
15 £321,285 £154,024 109% 15 £321,285 £205,365 56%
16 £360,445 £170,233 112% 16 £360,445 £226,978 59%
17 £402,846 £187,416 115% 17 £402,846 £249,888 61%
18 £448,731 £205,621 118% 18 £448,731 £274,161 64%
19 £498,358 £224,901 122% 19 £498,358 £299,868 66%
20 £552,006 £245,309 125% 20 £552,006 £327,079 69%

Even when you consider:

  • Your money is locked up till you are 55
  • You pay tax when you take money out of the pension
  • You can get 25% out of the pension tax free

The difference in growth is massive

If you do salary sacrifice you can increase the tax effect by saving national insurance too.

2. ISA

Individual Savings Accounts have been around for a few years and very soon the Help to Buy ISA will be launched

Help to Buy ISA

Top 10 facts and rules…

  1. Its only available to ‘First Time Buyers’
  2. ‘First Time Buyers’ can only have one Help to Buy ISA with one provider
  3. You can pay in £1,000 when you open the account and then save a maximum of £200 per month
  4. The maximum government bonus is £3,000 (but you can lower amounts of bonus if you have less than £12,000)
  5. The scheme will run for 4 years from the date it opens (Autumn 2015)
  6. Couples can have a Help to Buy ISA each which means if they don’t want to wait 4 years could save £12,000 in 25 months where as a single saver would need 55 months
  7. Unlike ISA’s where you open one per year, the Help to Buy ISA will continue for 4 years
  8. You can withdraw funds but if its not to buy a home then you won’t get the bonus
  9. More than 100,000 homes have now been bought with government backed schemes
  10. You will be able to get them at banks and building societies

3. Salary Sacrifice

Salary Sacrifice is a very tax efficient way to give your employees benefits and the most popular benefits are Pensions and Childcare. I wrote a blog back in 2011 which explained how it can save 45.8% in tax and NI

HMRC decided on 9th April 2013 that it was time to “clarify”  in their Manuals what are successful and unsuccessful salary sacrifice schemes and have added some further guidance. Their Staff are instructed not to approve schemes (Employment Income Manual EIM42772)….

You (HMRC) may get requests for advice:

  • on how to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement, or
  • on whether draft documentation will achieve a successful salary sacrifice.

You (HMRC) should not comment on either of these areas. Salary sacrifice is a matter of employment law, not tax law. The nature of an employee’s contract of employment is a matter for the employer and employee.

The specific updates are:

EIM42750 – Salary Sacrifice – updated – this contains the examples of schemes

EIM42777 – Contractual arrangements – this has interesting comments on childcare and pensions

4. Employment Expenses

As an employee you can claim tax relief for expenses incurred in doing your job, for example business mileage, cycling on business, hotels, meals, business phone calls, in fact anything as long as its business related

If your claim is less than £2500 you can make your claim using Form P87 http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/p87.pdf if its more than £2500 you will need to complete a Self Assessment Return (you need to phone HMRC to request a Self Assessment Return – contact details below), if you know your UTR number you can register and file your Self Assessment Return on line.

5. Dividends

When you take dividends has never been more critical due to changes in the Summer Budget 2015, so if you have distributable reserves you might want to take more dividends this tax year, try the Dividend Calculator above to see how much difference it could make.

Dividend Calculator 2

6. Tax break for Couples

A new tax break as launched this week from 6 April 2015, which will be eligible to more than 4 million married couples and 15,000 civil partnerships.

The Allowance means a spouse or civil partner who doesn’t pay tax – therefore is not earning at all or is earning below the basic rate threshold (£10,600) – can transfer up to £1,060 of their personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner – as long as the recipient of the transfer doesn’t pay more than the basic rate of income tax.

7. Tax Free Benefits

Getting tax free benefits will save you lots of tax, here some ideas…

  1. Pensions – Up to £40k can be paid in to you pension scheme by your employer (2015/16)  and you can use carry forward to pay in even more
  2. Childcare – Up to £55 per week but check the rules to makesure your childcare complies (HMRC Leaflet IR115) – these rules are changing soon.
  3. Mobile Phone – One per employee
  4. Lunch – Tax Free Lunch Blog
  5. Cycle Schemes – Cycle to Work Blog
  6. Fitness – Fitness Blog
  7. Parties and Gifts – Christmas Blog
  8. Parking – Parking Blog
  9. Business Mileage Allowance – 45p for the first 10,000 miles then 25p
  10. Long Service Award – A bit restrictive as you need 20 years service, the tax free amount is £50 x the number of years
  11. Eye Tests and Spectacles – The Eye Test must be needed under the Health & Safety at Work Act
  12. Suggestion Schemes – Suggestion Scheme Blog
  13. Insurance such and Death in Service and Income Protection – Medical Insurance Blog
  14. Travel Expenses – Travel Blog
  15. Working From Home – Working from Home Blog

8. Earn less than £100k

Your Personal Allowance goes down by £1 for every £2 that your adjusted net income is above £100,000. This means your allowance is zero if your income is £121,200 or above.

9. Green Company Car

A calculator is available here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/cars.htm and rates are shown in the table below for zero emission vehicles and some of the lower CO2 vehicles.


10. Check your P800

The P800’s are likely to contain errors because:

  1. Large amounts of data are manually input
  2. Estimates especially for Bank Interest and Investment Income

So check the following carefully:

  1. P60 – you get this at the end of each tax year
  2. P45 – you get this when you leave a job
  3. PAYE Coding Notice
  4. P11D Expenses and benefits
  5. P9D Expenses payments and income from which tax cannot be deducted
  6. Bank and Building society statements
  7. Pension Tax Deductions

Its expected that around 3 million people will be asked to pay more tax and around 2 million people will have overpaid.



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What are tax implications if a company pays a Directors personal expenses? Reply

Businessman struggling with large Expenses

It’s not uncommon for Directors personal expenses to get mixed up with business expenses, for example the director is out buying things for the company and picks up some items for themselves at the same time and it goes on the same bill.

In a perfect world the Director would just repay the cost of personal purchases to the company, but we don’t live in  perfect world, so what are the options?

Directors Loan Account

You could post the cost to the Directors Loan Account. These accounts are normally repaid when the Director is paid either salary or dividends.

If the loan is not cleared by year end then the company will have to pay a temporary corporation tax charge of 25% and reclaim the tax when the loan is repaid using form L2P

There may also be a notional amount of interest (4%) charged as a benefit in kind on the loan.

Benefit In Kind

You could have the expenses as a benefit in kind, some benefits may even be tax free, here is a list of my favourite tax free benefits

  1. Pensions – Up to £40k can be paid in to you pension scheme by your employer (2015/16)  and you can use carry forward to pay in even more
  2. Childcare – Up to £55 per week but check the rules to makesure your childcare complies (HMRC Leaflet IR115) – new rules coming soon
  3. Mobile Phone – One per employee
  4. Lunch – Tax Free Lunch Blog
  5. Cycle Schemes – Cycle to Work Blog
  6. Fitness – Fitness Blog
  7. Parties and Gifts – Christmas Blog
  8. Parking – Parking Blog
  9. Business Mileage Allowance – 45p for the first 10,000 miles then 25p
  10. Long Service Award – A bit restrictive as you need 20 years service, the tax free amount is £50 x the number of years
  11. Eye Tests and Spectacles – The Eye Test must be needed under the Health & Safety at Work Act
  12. Suggestion Schemes – Suggestion Scheme Blog
  13. Insurance such and Death in Service and Income Protection – Medical Insurance Blog
  14. Travel Expenses – Travel Blog
  15. Working From Home – Working from Home Blog

Private Use of Company Assets

It may also be worth considering private use of company assets.

  • The cost of the asset is allowed against Corporation Tax and you can claim Capital Allowances and the Annual Investment Allowance.
  • The Assets could be purchased from the Director but they must be transferred at Market Value.
  • The Benefit In Kind is generally 20% of the market value


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It’s a Pool Car isn’t it? Reply

Black Elegant Vintage Car

Yet again, we have another case on Pool Cars which could have been prevented had the right procedures been put in place.

The Case was decided in May 2015 and involved Mark and Trudie Holmes and their company KMS Logistics (UK) Ltd. The company owned 7 prestige cars which were used assist in maintaining and attracting clients.

There was no prohibition (not even a verbal one) on the private use of the vehicles, mileage logs showed that the cars were mainly used by Mr & Mrs Holmes. Until 2003/4 they had been declared as a benefit in kind but then the stopped being declared! There even seemed to be confusion over who owned the cars.

So not surprising Mr & Mrs Holmes lost the case.

Read the full details by clicking here

So what should you do to prove there is no private use:

  1. Keep the car on the company’s business premises
  2. Keep the keys at the company’s business premises
  3. Prepare a Board Minute
  4. Make sure your contract of employment bans private use
  5. Keep a mileage log
  6. Insure the car principally for business use

HMRC have specific rules on keeping vehicles at home in EIM23465

Even if you do meet the 60% rule you still have to prove ‘no private use’




Trivial Benefits £50 exemption deferred Reply

Businessman looking at a small present with a magnifying glass

It had been proposed that there will be a new statutory exemption for trivial benefits up to a limit of £50 from from 6 April 2015, this measure is not included in the first Finance Bill of 2015, it has been deferred until after the election.

The £50 tax exemption would have been on items such as birthday and Christmas gifts. The legislation would have also introduced an annual cap of £300 in some circumstances.

So we are stuck with the old rules for now

An employer may provide employees with a seasonal gift, such as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas. All of these gifts can be treated as trivial benefits. . For an employer with a large number of employees the total cost of providing a gift to each employee may be considerable, but where the gift to each employee is a trivial benefit, this principle applies regardless of the total cost to the employer and the number of employees concerned. If a benefit is trivial it should not be included in a PSA (EIM21861).


There are some non taxable benefits you be interested in….

HMRC Helpsheet 207 – Non-taxable payments or benefits for employees



What tax allowances can childminders claim? 19


Childminders work in their own homes and are paid by parents for looking after their children, often while the parents are at work. Profits from childminding are usually chargeable to Income Tax as trade profits, although some occasional childminders’ profits may be chargeable as miscellaneous income.

Many childminders are members of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), formerly known as the National Childminding Association (NCMA). HMRC entered into an agreement with the NCMA on the expenses that will be allowed as deductions from childminding income.

Household expenditure

The agreement is based on the hours that childminders work and not on the number of children they care for. A childminder looking after a child on a full time basis for 40 or more hours each week is entitled to claim the full time proportion of expenses.

How this works is illustrated in the following table:


Hours worked % of Heating and lighting costs % of Water rates, Council Tax and Rent
10 8% 2%
15 12% 4%
20 17% 5%
25 21% 6%
30 25% 7%
35 29% 9%
40 (full time) 33% 10%

The full time figures shown in the table should be scaled down from depending on hours worked.

Wear and tear of household furnishings

A deduction of 10% of total childminding income may be made to cover the wear and tear of furniture and household items. This is intended to include household items which are not used wholly and exclusively in childminding. A childminder claiming this deduction may not, however, claim relief for the cost of replacing such household items. Reasonable costs of cleaning household items where the need for cleaning is as a result of childminding activities may be allowed as a separate item.

The agreement also covers the following expenditure:

Food and drink

Reasonable estimates for the costs of food and drink provided for the children being cared for are acceptable and receipts are not required.

Car expenses

Where appropriate, childminders can use the simplified expenses mileage rates. However, if the childminder wishes, the actual cost of car expenses for childminding purposes can be claimed instead.

Other costs

Also allowable – the cost of toys, outings, books, safety equipment, stationary, travel fares, membership fees or subscriptions to your childminding organisation, public liability insurance premiums and the actual cost of telephone use for childminding purposes.

You can find further details in BIM52751