Can I claim tax relief for professional fees, subscriptions or memberships?
Many individuals are required to pay professional fees, subscriptions or memberships in order to carry out their jobs, writes Katy Shaw, senior manager at chartered accountancy firm Moore Kingston Smith.
An example of this is a medical professional who is required to be a member of the British Medical Association, or somebody who must pay for an annual practicing certificate in order to practice. In other cases, the professional fee or subscription may not be essential to the practice of the job but relate more generally to an individual’s field of work.
Claiming for a tax deduction for such costs can often be overlooked and could mean that you are paying more tax than you are required to.
What subscriptions can I claim for?
You can claim tax relief in relation to professional fees or subscriptions you pay, but only if you must pay for the costs in order to do your job or because it is helpful for your work.
Helpfully, HMRC publishes a list of “Approved professional organisations and learned societies”. If your professional organisation or body is on the HMRC’s approved list, then you will be able to offset the subscription cost or membership fee against your income for tax purposes.
What monthly fees can I not claim for?
You cannot claim tax back on fees or subscriptions that are not on HMRC’s approved list, for life membership subscriptions, or for any fees or subscriptions that you have not paid for yourself (for example, because your employer has paid for them directly).
How do I make the claim?
Whether you are employed or self-employed, you can make a claim for eligible professional fees or subscriptions. For self-employed individuals, you would make a deduction for the cost through your annual Self-Assessment tax return as a business expense.
For umbrella employees, your umbrella company may be able to process eligible professional fees or subscription expenses as an allowance in your PAYE code, which is used by them in working out your monthly pay.
If your contractor umbrella company does not process such expenses and you submit a Self-Assessment tax return, you can submit a standalone annual claim for your expenses within your return and claim any tax overpaid that way.
What about limited company contractors and claiming for subscriptions?
For limited company contractors, if the expense is incurred by the company, a tax deduction will be available to the company for corporation tax purposes.
And finally, if you incur the expense yourself as an employee of the limited company, you also can submit a claim through your Self-Assessment tax return against your salary or through your PAYE code.