5 surprising expenses you can claim for in your tax return

From your website to training, it's amazing what you can claim back from the taxman.

The clock's ticking for UK freelancers; you have until 31 January to complete your 2014/15 tax return and pay HMRC what you owe. Of course you probably got it out of the way months ago, but you could have been putting it off until the last minute or been up to your neck in the latest logo design project and your tax return got put to one side.

So if you're trying to pull anything together in a panic, it can all seem rather daunting, especially when it comes to expenses.

If you're confused by expenses, here are five things that you might not realise are claimable when you're working from home. See which ones are applicable to you and save on your tax bill!

01. Website

Ongoing hosting costs for your business site are tax deductible. Website development costs are viewed as capital expenditure (meaning they 'create' business), so they are treated differently.

02. Professional fees

Yes, you can even claim your accountant's fees. similarly, if you have a lawyer draw up terms and conditions or other business papers for your business, all of these fees are allowable for tax purposes.

03. Training costs

If you need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date then you can claim costs for training against your profits. If you're being taught something new that will enable you to add to your range of products or services then that will be viewed as capital, and you should seek advice from your accountant on how to proceed.

04. Your house

If you work from home as a sole trader then you are allowed to claim a proportion of certain household expenses including mortgage interest, utility bills, and insurance. Alternatively you can claim £4 for each week when you use part of your house for work, which is an easier calculation.

05. Marketing

You can charge your PR, advertising and marketing costs against your business profits, because these actions also increase and grow business. That old favourite 'business entertainment' doesn't, so your night out with the gang can't be claimed back.

Words: Tom Dennis

Illustration: Becca Allen

This article first appeared inside Computer Arts issue 249, a special issue looking at how to power up your skills as a freelancer and more, on sale here.

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