Self Employed Expenses Explained! Part 1

Knowing exactly what you can and can’t claim for on your tax return can be quite confusing.  It’s also easy to miss things if you don’t know about them!  

In our series of self employed guides, here are 3 of the most common expenses explained…..



If you are using your own car for your business (owned by you personally, not a van owned by the business), then you are entitled to claim mileage expenses for the business miles that you travel.

Mileage expenses are currently claimed at 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and then 25p per mile after that.  It is very important to keep a record of mileage to support your claim.  There are lots of different ways of doing this, you might make a note in your diary, you might have a mileage tracking app installed on your phone, or you might keep a spreadsheet. They all work, it’s just finding the one that works best for you.

The amount claimed for mileage is all inclusive, so it covers not just the fuel that you put in the car, it also covers road tax, insurance, servicing, MOT and the cost of buying the car in the first place.  If you are claiming mileage as an expense you cannot claim any other motor expenses.  You can still claim travel costs such as toll bridges, parking etc.

If you are not using a car to commute, but a motorbike or a bicycle then you can still claim mileage, but at a different rate.  HMRC provides a guide to the current rates.


Top Tip – mileage expenses cannot be claimed for a ‘fixed place of work’, so if you just go to the office and back every day you cannot claim for this.  If your work involves site visits, client visits etc then these are all claimable miles.


Subscriptions and professional fees

If your self employment involves you being a member of a professional body or to have professional subscriptions (ie NMC, NAPIT, CHAS to name a few) then your monthly or annual subscription fees can be claimed as expenses.  As can the costs of attending any meetings or conferences that they hold.

For a full list of qualifying professional bodies see the HMRC website.  You can also include registrations with trade bodies.



Training can be claimed as an expense in certain circumstances.  The training has to improve or increase your knowledge of an existing subject in order to qualify.  So, if a hairdresser goes on a course to learn advanced colouring techniques, or a builder goes on a health and safety course, this is absolutely fine.

If the same hairdresser went on a hypnotherapy course in order to launch a new side to her business, then this would not be claimable as it is seen as an initial investment rather than an expense of an ongoing business. 

We hope that this guide has been helpful for you. Please contact us for support with your expenses and tax returns.