When you are self employed it is really important to stay on top of your game to maintain a competitive edge. So with no colleagues to learn from it is natural to turn to courses, reading and training to give you the skills you need. But training often is not cheap so knowing whether you can claim for the cost of training courses may help you make your decision.
Broadly speaking training tends to fall into two categories – training courses to improve your skills or training to learn new skills. The tax treatment of each differs.
Training Courses to Improve Skills
Say for example you have been a self employed web developer for a number of years and go on a training course to improve your skills and learn more about mobile responsive websites. Then these costs are to improve your existing skills and are tax allowable.
You can include the cost of any courses, books and travel associated with your training.
Training Course to Learn New Skills
Lets go back to the self employed web developer example. Say you want to go on a training course to learn about SEO practices so you can begin to offer digital marketing services as part of your web business. In this case training courses to learn new skills is not tax allowable.
HMRC do not consider learning new skills part of your day to day trade, its part of starting your business.
Incorrect tax claims can result in penalties being charged by HMRC so it is important to be sure that your training courses are tax deductible. Always seek professional advice if you are unsure.