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flurdness
30th January 2012, 19:11
When contracting through an umbrella company, in accordance with HMRC, can you claim expenses for conferences?

I have read that any training course expenses have to be relative to the current contract. Is that true?

How does that apply to conferences?

How strict is the relevance to your contract? I know a yoga class for an programmer might be pushing it, but can a java contractor claim for scala courses, agile courses, etc when those specific technologies/methodologies perhaps are not(yet) in use in the current contract, but maybe the next?

TheFaQQer
30th January 2012, 19:15
It's a question for your employer - if they allow it, and HMRC allow it, then you can claim it.

If your employer does not allow it, then regardless of whether HMRC allow it or not, then you can't claim it.

TheFaQQer
30th January 2012, 19:19
It's also worth reading the HMRC guidance (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/BIM42526.htm) carefully.

The last time I remember it being discussed here was in this thread (http://forums.contractoruk.com/business-contracts/73883-can-i-claim-training-course-expense.html).

flurdness
31st January 2012, 12:58
It's a question for your employer - if they allow it, and HMRC allow it, then you can claim it.

If your employer does not allow it, then regardless of whether HMRC allow it or not, then you can't claim it.

Ok, from my search and your link as well it seems as you say the employer (the umbrella company) would have to approve it. And they might not as it is an expense for them, and the contractor might leave at any time. Or can they deduct it from the contractors invoice?

And from the links(s) it seems course and conference content relevancy is a foggy gray zone...

Wary
1st February 2012, 06:31
Ok, from my search and your link as well it seems as you say the employer (the umbrella company) would have to approve it. And they might not as it is an expense for them, and the contractor might leave at any time. Or can they deduct it from the contractors invoice?

And from the links(s) it seems course and conference content relevancy is a foggy gray zone...

It wouldn't be an expense for the umbrella as I can't imagine for one minute that they'd consider funding it!

The way to go would presumably be to pay for it personally then claim it back as an expense using the normal method, the net result being that you're still the one who is paying for it, but in a tax-efficient manner.

Whether it is allowable, I'm no expert in that area. But if it is deemed helpful in finding future work for your employer then it sounds legit to me.

TheFaQQer
1st February 2012, 10:01
Whether it is allowable, I'm no expert in that area. But if it is deemed helpful in finding future work for your employer then it sounds legit to me.

NO - that's completely the opposite of the HMRC guidance!

If it's to support existing work, then it's an expense. If it's to develop new skills that might lead to future work, then it's not an expense.

Wary
2nd February 2012, 07:35
NO - that's completely the opposite of the HMRC guidance!

If it's to support existing work, then it's an expense. If it's to develop new skills that might lead to future work, then it's not an expense.

Does this principle apply just to conferences or across the board? - e.g. training courses, software, books ... that would enable a contractor to re-train? Not that I'm doubting you, but if a contractor has outdated skills to an extent that the only way the company could continue trading would be for him/her to cross-train, then it seems reasonable that anything associated with this should be a legitimate business expense ... although I admit that attending a conference is somewhat tenuous.