Wacky contractor expenses claims – an umbrella opens up

We’ve had some really ‘interesting’ items that our contractors have tried to claim for over the years, writes Derek Kelly, managing director of Parasol Group, an umbrella company.  

As the list from our expenses log, below, shows, they range from the peculiar to the almost unbelievable. But just because they are odd doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t a legitimate business expense.  The following have been put through to the claims team:

  • Dolls House
  • Toy Giraffe
  • Tea & biscuits
  • Hose gun
  • Freeman of London
  • New car
  • Handbag
  • Tickets to Chester Zoo
  • Wine tasting
  • A chocolate-making course
  • Swimming float
  • Skis and ski boots
  • A visit to a castle
  • Toilet flush button
  • Cleaning lady
  • Window boxes

Our personal favourites:

  • Sexy pyjamas
  • A kayak

Before you write in to CUK to say there must be a misprint, jim-jams and a small boat have indeed been put through to us before! But as we’ve said, weird doesn’t always mean you can’t claim.

For example, if you have to stay away from home overnight while on assignment then you can legitimately claim for the personal incidentals that you need, and this includes pyjamas (or a nighty) although their allure is entirely your business, not ours! Overnight expenses can either be claimed as a normal business expense or as a client billable expense (prearranged with your client who then reimburses you for the cost).

And yes, someone did once try to claim for a kayak and no, we didn’t sign that one off I’m afraid. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is that any business expense claim you make has to have been incurred ‘wholly and exclusively’ as a result of your business activities.


Thursday 29th Mar 2012
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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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