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Can I offset a course against tax?

(13 Posts)
professorpoopsnagle Fri 12-Apr-13 13:05:01

I have tried googling and not found the answer, so thought I would ask MN. smile

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 12-Apr-13 13:09:28

Phone HMRC. they will tell you definitely instead of mn all just saying what they think.

Here's what I think:

A few years back I asked them this as I was paying for a course to re-train, doing it at night time while working full time. The answer was no as it was not directly related to my current job.

They said if my employer was paying for it, then the employer would be able to claim tax relief, as that would be a deductible expense for employee training.

riksti Fri 12-Apr-13 22:49:58

You won't be able to offset it against tax. You may be able to offset it against taxable income depending on: a) whether you're employed or self-employed and b) if you are self-employed then whether the course is adding to your existing knowledge or giving you new knowledge. Updating existing knowledge is allowable, acquiring new knowledge isn't.

As above, if you're an employee and paying for your own training then this cannot be offset as an allowable expense. However, your employer could pay for you and that would be most likely allowable for the employer (there are restrictions under certain circumstances to do with family of the owner of the business).

Talkinpeace Sat 13-Apr-13 15:06:17

It very much depends on the course and how it relates to what you are paying tax on already.

I'm an accountant. So my accountancy related training is deductible.

If I decided to also train as a yoga instructor, I could not put that course against my accountancy business. BUT once I've started teaching yoga, any further yoga courses can go against my yoga business.

If I then decided to do a course on strategy management, I'd make sure it went to my accountancy business, not my yoga one.

Areyoumadorisitme Sat 13-Apr-13 15:35:19

Agree with the last two posters re training being tax deductible or not.

I am also an accountant but just wanted to caution against taking hmrc helpline advice as gospel. It is often correct but not always, please bear in mind that the people on the end of the main helplines are trained to some extent but are not tax or accountancy professionals. Us accountants have access to 'experienced' advisers on a special agents line but this only guarantees 12 months experience!! The advice they give is not legally binding. Make sure you take a note of what number you phone, date, time and who you spoke to so you could show 'reasonable care' in your affairs.
Sorry for the rant but I have had clients told duff information from HMRC helplines on several occasions which I then have to correct and spend ages justifying myself, it can get tiring!

DolomitesDonkey Sat 13-Apr-13 16:10:54

Isn't this one of those things really best to run by an accountant? A cursory look over hmrc documents says (some) courses can be off-set along with club memberships and mmagazine subscriptions. I also seem to remember one of you saying maintaining and hosting your website could also be claimed.

Talkinpeace Sat 13-Apr-13 16:17:56

Indeed, it should always be checked with somebody who knows and is not just an anonymous poster.

Club Memberships : depends what and how essential they are to the business
Subscriptions : ditto
Website costs : I cannot think of a situation where website management costs would NOT be a business expense - what has changed is that they are generally expensed rather than capitalised now.

emma123456 Sun 14-Apr-13 15:48:54

Training is a funny one. As a sole trader you can claim for cpd but not the training that puts you in the position to do the job.

MrAnchovy Mon 15-Apr-13 09:23:05

"Phone HMRC. they will tell you definitely instead of mn all just saying what they think."

As others have said there is no guarantee that HMRC will give a correct answer, and if they do there may be a different or more complete correct answer that will result in you paying less tax.

There are a number of people that post here who earn their living ensuring people pay no more tax than they have to: those that are "just saying what they think" are usually pretty obvious (and will be corrected fairly quickly).

DolomitesDonkey Mon 15-Apr-13 11:03:34

I'm no accountant, but I find it to believe that the best accountants and "money-savers" in the country are manning the phone-lines in Newcastle... and the fact that someone says HMRC say no directly contradicts a pdf file I downloaded from HMRC only 2 months ago.

professorpoopsnagle Mon 15-Apr-13 14:58:12

Thanks for the replies, it is further CPD for what I do. But I will ring HMRC anyway to cover my back.

tungthai Mon 15-Apr-13 15:17:58

I know you can if you are a limited company. An accountant I saw that if you are a sole trader the HMRC take the view that the course is of benefit to you personally and you are taxed accordingly, however if you are employed through a limited company they consider it to be a benefit to the company and you can offset it.

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Apr-13 17:09:40

I know you can if you are a limited company
not true. it depends on who what when where and why

if it is development of the skills through which you earn your living you should be fine.

this board on Mumsnet is comparatively quiet, but percentage wise extremely well informed grin

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