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10 things you should be claiming as a freelancer

The self-assessment paper returns date is looming: it's at the end of this month to be precise. You do have some extra time to do your assessment online (until 31st of January), but why not do it now so you don't carry any burdens over into the New Year?

You've probably already paid a considerable amount of money (possibly out of your own pocket) to get your business started. So, I thought I'd put together a list of business-related expenses that you can include in your self-assessment form to offset against your turnover and pay lower tax as a result.

Man-hands-laptop-expenses.jpg

1. Working from home office

If you're using a room in your home (or even a part of the room) for business purposes you can include your rent, heating, electricity and even Internet expenses based on the percentage of that space used for business from an overall payment for maintenance services. HMRC has a handy guide on how to work this number out.

2. Clothing

Obviously this doesn't apply to your normal day of shopping, but you can include some special clothing used exclusively for business purposes.

3. Items purchased before you started the business

If you have bought any equipment or materials before you decided to register your business you can still claim them as expenses as long as you can prove that they were purchased in order to start this particular business.

4. Business related publications

As long as these are related to your trade and not purchased for personal interests: like journal subscriptions, books or other publications.

5. Education

You can include additional education or courses into your expenses as long as you are building on an existing skill that will help you run your business better and not acquiring a new skill that will let you expand the business.

6. Technology and equipment

If you require special equipment to be used solely for your business (new lens for a photographer or an iPad for an app developer) you can include these in your report. Any office peripherals are also included: printing paper, printer, envelopes etc.

7. Unpaid invoices

You have to include these invoices into the turnover, but if you know that these particular invoices will not be paid during this financial year (the company has gone bankrupt for example) you can include them in the expenses.

8. Travel

This category includes train, bus, air fare and even meals and hotel charges in case you had to stay overnight. However, it does not include your daily commute in case you're a contractor and have to travel every day.

9. Business bank account, PayPal and Credit Card charges

These can amount to a hefty fee, especially if you're using PayPal to process payment for your business and you pay a percentage per transaction. You can also include these in your Self Assesment.

10. Advertising

If you have invested in the matters of spreading the word about your business: in print, leaflets, cost of Internet ads, setting up a website and free samples.

Did you keep the receipts?

The above might sound great, but you can only claim your expenses provided that you have the receipts to prove it. If you have been using the Expenses feature in Debitoor you would have those handy already. But, if you didn't keep the receipts... well, there's always next year!