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The ludicrous tax return expense claims that won’t make the cut

by: Paloma Kubiak
  • 25/01/2017
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There’s just one week left to submit your tax return and if you’re not sure whether to put an expense claim through, here’s a list of the most ludicrous that were rejected by HMRC.

The deadline to submit your 2015/16 tax return and to pay any tax owed is Tuesday 31 January.

If you’ve yet to submit yours and you’re not sure whether an expense is allowable, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published a top 10 list of the most outlandish items which people attempted to put through on their 2014/15 returns.

The tax authority hopes those submitting this time round won’t make the same or similar claims as the following expenses were all rejected:

  1. Holiday flights to the Caribbean
  2. Luxury watches as Christmas gifts for staff – from a company with no employees
  3. International flights for dental treatment ahead of business meetings
  4. Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’
  5. Armani jeans as protective clothing for painter and decorator
  6. Cost of regular Friday night ‘bonding sessions’ – running into thousands of pounds
  7. Underwear – for personal use
  8. A garden shed for private use – plus the costs of the space it takes up in the garden
  9. Betting slips
  10. Caravan rental for the Easter weekend.

The expenses you’re allowed to claim for

The expenses you can legitimately claim for under ‘allowable expenses’ include:

  • Office costs: stationery and phone bills
  • Travel costs: fuel, parking, train or bus fares
  • Clothing: such as uniforms
  • Financial costs: insurance or bank charges
  • Costs of business premises: lighting, heating, business rates
  • Advertising or marketing: website costs

You can also claim ‘capital allowances’ which are items you buy to use within your business such as equipment or a van.

Ruth Owen, HMRC director general of customer services, said: “Year after year we receive a number of ludicrous expense claims, ranging from international holiday flights to expensive designer clothing, which we would never uphold. Why should the honest taxpayer pick up the bill for others? HMRC will only accept those claims which are genuine, such as legitimate travel expenses or the cost of tools for the job.”

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