Can we claim for marketing, entertainment and subscription costs?

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 09/01/2018

The self-employed are often concerned if an expense is allowable or not for tax purposes. In this article, we will briefly look at the rules for claiming marketing, entertainment and subscription costs.

Most marketing expenses are treated as allowable business expenses. This includes advertising in newspapers or directories, bulk mail advertising (mail shots), providing free samples and website costs.

The cost of entertaining clients, suppliers and customers or event hospitality in relation to the business is not treated as an allowable business expense.

Costs associated with ‘entertaining’ staff may be allowable if they relate to the welfare of your staff or for qualifying events such as a Christmas party. You cannot claim for carers or domestic help nor for subcontractors or others who are not employees.

Most subscriptions such as trade or professional journals or membership of trade or professional organisations are allowable once they relate to your business. However, payments to political parties and gym membership fees are excluded.

Planning note

Charitable donations are not an allowable business expense as they are not directly related to the running of your business. However, you may be able to claim for sponsorship payments if your business receives something related to the business in return.


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