Contractors' Questions: Can I claim set-up or relocation costs?
Contractor’s Question: As a British citizen, I’m in the process of moving back to the UK from Canada, as I recently landed a new freelance IT contract – it’s a 12-month rolling contract with the option (later on) to go permanent.
What, if anything, can I claim to help support the new contract, which I’ll execute via my new limited company? I doubt I can claim for shipping expenses (which were hefty), but what about other costs, such as rental agreements or other set-up costs? My full-time job in Toronto was with a different outfit (and industry) to the freelance gig I’m taking in London.
Expert’s Answer: You’re in luck thanks to what HM Revenue & Customs categorises as pre-trading expenses or set-up costs. So yes you can claim certain expenses, which are related to company formation, as below:
- Fees paid to accountants (and lawyers) for incorporating the company and preparing of contracts.
- Costs related to travel and subsistence which are incurred during the course of setting up business.
- Equipment expenses, such as computers, office furniture, office consumables and other admin costs.
- Marketing and research costs, including website designing, domain hosting, business cards and advertising.
- Home as office costs (to a reasonable extent), telephone and broadband internet access.
- Insurances, such as public/employee liability and professional indemnity insurance.
Having said that, you would not be able to claim relocation expenses regarding travel and transport, as the prime condition is that if a director/employee of a company is moving home/office due to relocation of an existing business. In your case, you are coming back to the UK to set up a new limited company and thus ‘relocation’ expenses cannot be claimed.
For your future reference, the reason for relocation must be one of the following:
- A new job
A change of job/place of employment. The new place of employment must be significantly far away from your current residence to make relocation necessary.
- Change of Duties
Duties must have changed from you being transferred to another department or branch, which means you must travel a greater distance to your place of work.
- Change of Location
The place where you carry out your duties has moved, which means that you must travel a greater distance to your place of work.
The expert was Sumit Agarwal, managing director of contractor accountancy firm DNS Associates.
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