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It’s that time of the year again: the time when HMRC reveal the most outrageous expense claims they received in the tax year before last.

While 2013-14’s outlandish claims, which included intimate waxing costs and the price of storing a Mars bar in a fridge overnight, seemed bold enough, the costs that taxpayers have tried to get past HMRC see, even cheekier.

The message from HMRC? Don’t try to claim for anything you see below…

Staff Perks

Holiday flights to the Caribbean and regular Friday night ‘bonding sessions’ that costs thousands of pounds might seem ridiculous enough, but they pale into comparison against the Christmas gifts of luxury watches – given to a non-existent staff.

Keeping Up Appearances

Obviously when one runs a business, one has a reputation to maintain -and a neat personal appearance may be part of that. However, take it from us – and HMRC – you can’t claim for International flights to get dental treatment ahead of business meetings, or for underwear for personal use. Claiming for Armani jeans as workwear when you’re a painter and decorator turns out to be a big no-no too.

The Bare Necessities

Of course, some items and services are vital to the running of your business. However, it’s not necessary to ‘have a flutter; so when you’re gathering your business receipts, leave the betting slips out; they’re not an allowable expense. Nor is a garden shed for your own use, caravan rental for the Easter weekend or pet food for your Shih Tzu ‘guard dog.’

‘Ludicrous Expense Claims’

If you haven’t yet completed your tax return for 2015-16, be sure to remove any invoices or receipts for expenses that bear even a passing resemblance to those above. Safe yourself time – they won’t be allowed!

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.

“The countdown to the 31 January Self Assessment deadline is now on. Don’t delay and risk a penalty, the time to submit your tax return is now.”


About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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