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Can I claim travel expenses?

Q. I am a contractor and have a Ltd, I have always claimed travel expenses to interviews, conferences etc as long as they are related to my business.

I have asked my accountant, to be sure, and they said travel to an interview cannot be claimed saying ”Travel and subsistence expenses can be claimed if they are wholly for business reasons only. Job interviews cannot be termed as business related activities” which doesn’t make sense to me as the interview is a business meeting to sell your services to a client, weather you get the contract or now, you are meeting a potential client and it is for your business.

I see a lot of conflicting responses in various forums and websites and it seems to be a grey area, which should not be the case. Travelling for an interview is wholly for business reasons only.

It would be great to get a definitive explanation, especially if they are not claimable, why travel to an interview is not consider for business reasons, call it interview or business meeting, you are meeting a potential client to sell your services, that to me is a clear business reason.

A. We can confirm that the travel costs to and from the meetings and tender discussions for company projects will be allowable deductions for the company as they meet the; wholly and exclusively for business purposes’ test.

This will only apply where you, as a Director of your Limited Company are going to meetings in order to obtain/win business for your company. If you are going to these meetings or “job interviews” in a personal capacity looking for new employment, these will not be allowable as the costs relate to you personally and not the company.

It is necessary to distinguish between the term “job interview” which infers personal paid employment and is not a term associated with working through your own limited company. Where a Personal Service Company is used, these meetings should be referred to as “tender discussions”, “contract negotiations” or other similar terms which infer benefit and income to the company. It may be this terminology that is causing the confusion.

This answer was provided by Vantage, specialist providers of Tax Fee Protection.

By Contractor Doctor

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1 thought on “Can I claim travel expenses?”

  1. William Blunn

    It sounds like your accountant (like many it seems) isn’t very good as his/her job, if not completely incompetent.

    Instead of giving you a stock answer, which in this case was completely wrong, what they should have done is asked you what the interview was for. You would then have said that it was to discuss with a potential client taking you on as a contractor, i.e. potentially setting up a service contract between them and your limited company. Travel to such a meeting is therefore clearly a business expense.

    A really good accountant may have taken it upon themselves at this point to suggest to you that you might want couch the description of your activity in language that made it clear that it was an activity related to your limited company and not you personally.

    Accountants seem to assume that you know everything about tax and accountancy, and interpret the vague and squishy language that ordinary people use through the lens of accounting jargon. So when you say “interview”, which could mean any sort of meeting, your account interprets that as “job interview, leading to your become a PAYE employee of a company”, and promptly jumps to the wrong conclusion.

    Good accountants do exist; they just cost more.

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