Could I expense My Business-Related Training Course? Could I expense My Business-Related Training Course?
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    Default Could I expense My Business-Related Training Course?

    I am an IT consultant and I do have a stammer. I take 1 or 2 speech training courses (e.g. telephone skills for people who stammer, etc) per year to help me provide a better consultancy.

    Is it OK to expense the cost of these training courses?

    Is there any HMRC helpline that I can contact and ask them?

    I spoke with my accountant and he said it's unlikely that HMRC will allow expensing speech therapy courses because you will also personally benefit and expenses should be wholly and exclusively for business only.

    What my accountant said is a pure discrimination by HMRC if it is correct, isn't it? You can't expense a training course that you need to improve your work because you have a stammer!

    This doesn't make sense to me with regard to training courses as anyone who takes any training course will also benefit personally and indeed all training courses have the element of being personal otherwise that person wouldn't have taken that course!

    Please share your thoughts.

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    Your accountant is correct, that is not wholly for the purpose of business. Presumably you also stammer when you are not working too.

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    I do wonder with all these questions about can I claim this, can I claim that.

    How many peoples records are actually examined closely enough to see detail like this? I bet it is hardly any. Does anyone know of the actual %?

    If there is only a 5% chance of them actually looking this close, doesnt it make sense to just put everything you want through and worry about it in the unlikely event they ever look?

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    Quote Originally Posted by escapeUK View Post
    If there is only a 5% chance of them actually looking this close, doesnt it make sense to just put everything you want through and worry about it in the unlikely event they ever look?
    Well, a low occurring chance doesn't necessarily means unimportant, does it? it depends on the consequence of that risk if happens.

    For this case, it depends on how important is the accuracy of accounts and the consequence if they are not? e.g. if there is an expense claim, e.g. £500, that HMRC won't agree with, what would be the next step? 1) simply just asking me to pay back the amount (I doubt they spend their time and money finding flaws without charging a penalty so this option would be out I think) 2) Charging a fine on the company for the mistake? how much?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Bloggs View Post
    Your accountant is correct, that is not wholly for the purpose of business. Presumably you also stammer when you are not working too.
    Hi Fred, yes but my point is that almost all other training courses, which are allowable to expense, are also personally beneficial for that individual who is taking that course, right?

    for example, I go to a business training course, how to be more creative at work or problem/solving course or business management courses, marketing, etc

    do you see my point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamic View Post
    I am an IT consultant and I do have a stammer. I take 1 or 2 speech training courses (e.g. telephone skills for people who stammer, etc) per year to help me provide a better consultancy.
    Could you claim that although you stammer, it doesn't bother you in social situations where people just accept it but it is an impediment to doing business where people are less likely to accept it. Therefore ,although the speech therapy could appear to have a duality of purpose on the face of it, it is in fact exclusively to improve your business prospects?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Could you claim that although you stammer, it doesn't bother you in social situations where people just accept it but it is an impediment to doing business where people are less likely to accept it. Therefore ,although the speech therapy could appear to have a duality of purpose on the face of it, it is in fact exclusively to improve your business prospects?
    yes, that's exactly my view and I understand my accountant has a different view and HMRC might have a different view.

    my options now:
    1) Contacting HMRC and asking them to confirm in writing whether this would be OK - detailing my argument in writing
    2) just expensing the amount, ignoring my accountant and being prepared for both a) explaining my view with HMRC if they question and b) the possible fine.

    I'd presume I should be taking the first option to be on the safe side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamic View Post
    Well, a low occurring chance doesn't necessarily means unimportant, does it? it depends on the consequence of that risk if happens.

    For this case, it depends on how important is the accuracy of accounts and the consequence if they are not? e.g. if there is an expense claim, e.g. £500, that HMRC won't agree with, what would be the next step? 1) simply just asking me to pay back the amount (I doubt they spend their time and money finding flaws without charging a penalty so this option would be out I think) 2) Charging a fine on the company for the mistake? how much?
    This might answer your question:-

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/compliance/cc-fs7.pdf

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    Question is how much is it and is the saving really worth it when it is a grey area situation. Yes there is the edict that the chance of getting found out is minimal, if that were the case you might sa well be doing a 100 other things that are dodgy too. But that aside. If you are trying to keep your books clean and tight look at the value to risk. I like keeping everything very clean and err on the side of caution so I can sleep at night. If you are talking a couple of hundred quid course that will actually only save you tens to maybe a few hundred pounds a year is it really worth it? Will you get in to the habit of just this course and then just the next one and so on until you are going to get raped when HMRC go back 6 years on you?

    For a few hundred quid a year in your pocket I wouldn't take the risk. Using the same safe thinking I also believe this doesn't meet the wholly rule anyway. As has been pointed out it helps you in social circles. The point it helps with work but isn't a problem is social circles is a personal opinion based on your situation. HMRC won't see it like that IMO.
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    I have to agree with others - it's difficult to argue that it won't help you outside business too. (Possibly the same is true for other soft skills courses)

    But what really makes me cross (after a few Sunday afternoon beers!) is that surely this sort of help should be available on the NHS and you shouldn't have to pay for it anyway!

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