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The Tax Treatment of Training for Sole Traders

Welcome clarification from HMRC ...


Posted by Roger Eddowes on 30/05/2024 @ 8:00AM

As a sole trader, you are responsible for all aspects of your business, including staying updated with the latest advancements in your trade. This often means investing in training to acquire new skills and knowledge ...

It's important to ensure that training costs for sole traders are deducted correctly!

It's important to ensure that training costs for sole traders are deducted correctly!

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But what about the costs of this training? Can you claim tax relief for it? The answer is yes, but with some conditions. In their latest guidance, HMRC has clarified the tax treatment of training costs for sole traders. The key takeaway is that you can claim a deduction for training costs incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your trade.

"As long as they are not capital expenditure!"

Put as simply as possible, this condition means that the training must be directly related to your trade. It should either update your current skills or provide you with new skills and knowledge in your existing business area.

For example, if you are a freelance graphic designer and attend a course on the latest design software, this would be considered a deductible expense. However, if the same graphic designer participated in a course on web design, HMRC would see that as being able to start another business, so this would be seen as a capital expenditure and no deduction could be claimed.

In some cases, training that is not directly related to your trade may still be considered a deductible expense. This is known as ancillary training. For example, if our graphic designer friend attends a bookkeeping course, this would be considered ancillary to your trade and can be claimed as a deduction.

To further clarify the guidance, HMRC has provided some examples of training costs that can and cannot be claimed as deductions. Claimable training costs include courses, conferences, and workshops directly related to your trade. Non-claimable training costs include courses that allow you to start a new business or expand into a new, unrelated business area!

To claim a deduction for training costs, you must include them in your self-assessment tax return as part of your business expenses. Make sure to keep records of all training costs, including receipts and invoices, to support your claim. It's also a good idea to keep a record of the purpose of the training and how it relates to your trade.

HMRC's clarification on the tax treatment of training costs for sole traders provides much-needed clarity for self-employed professionals. However, there are still plenty of grey areas they could query you on.

"Investing in your skills and knowledge is crucial
for the success of your business!"

With the right understanding of the tax treatment of training costs, you can ensure that you are claiming all the deductions you are entitled to and staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in your trade.

Until next time ...

Business Godparent


Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about training costs for sole traders, it may be a great idea to call me on 01908 774320 and let's see how I can help you.

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About Roger Eddowes ...


Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.