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Stories from an Accountant

Holiday, (on the business) Celebrate?!

Account-ant - Holiday, (on the business) Celebrate?!

As the October Half term approaches your thoughts may be turning towards a little getaway with friends and family. Be that jetting off for some Autumn sunshine (Vitamin D is very important!), staycation or just little day trips.

Our happy place is Scotland, the Highlands to be exact. So much so that we got married there and the retirement dream is to run a small “The Shining”-esk hotel. We ALMOST took the leap a few years back, but that’s another story.

As a self employed person you may dread holidays to some degree. After all, who’s going to pick up the slack and you don’t get paid holidays like your employed friends.

Your mind starts whirring and, ding, a light blub moment hits you…. Surely my holiday can be a “Business” Trip (and therefore tax deductible).

Rachel Account-ant

Well…. Hold your horses there matey. Although we would all LOVE for that to be the case, it’s not.

However, there are some instances where you can team up business with pleasure and save yourself a little cash.

For instance, say you need to fly abroad for business but your family are bugging you for a holiday. They can tag along. The business can pay for your tickets BUT not your family’s fares.

But what about connecting flights? For instance, you have business in China and you and your family have always wanted to go to Australia. You could claim your flight to China and the equivalent cost of a return flight from China. However you would most definitely need to keep evidence of what the return leg would have cost at the time of booking your outward journey.

Now you might think this is an extreme example for most “ordinary” folk but I do know people who have taken advantage of this opportunity.

“How about day trips?” I hear you say. You would need to keep proof of a genuine business reason for the trip.

For instance, you are a Carpet Fitter based in Halifax. Your family is going to Flamingoland for a day trip so you tee it up with some quotes near Malton. Well that’s fine but is it realistic? Are you really going to take a small job on such a distance from your home? If yes, then you could claim your travel cost, but if you’re just doing it to get around a loophole, don’t bother. If you get an inspection from HMRC, it will be disallowed AND trigger a more in depth look into your affairs.

OK, last example for you. You’re a Mortgage Broker in Thornton who regularly travels for work. Hotel stays are a regular occurrence. Could someone tag along on a trip and stay in your room? Yes. As long as having that person along with you did not change the ordinary costs of the trip.

For instance, you usually stay in a Premier Inn and get a breakfast on your business trips but your companion suggests something a little more upmarket. Well you would only be able to claim the Premier Inn equivalent as tax deductible and keep evidence of this!

I hope this Blog has cleared up some of your questions! Still got questions? Well count me in! No questions too big, no questions too small! Please do get in touch should you need any help at all.

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