There’s a couple of questions we get asked a lot by dentists, this one especially by associates:
“Can I claim course expenses against my income for tax?”
This is a grey area with HMRC and one which is hotly debated between professionals.
How do you define a ‘new skill’?
Let’s take implantology, a very lengthy and costly course. Is this considered a new skill? Or, is it the top-up of skills that were learned in the years spent at university? Arguably it should be considered as a top-up of existing skills.
Switch it around – as an accountant, if I was to spend money doing a course in skydiving instruction then aside from it being a terrible idea, clearly HMRC would consider this a new skill, thus not expensable.
For those of you who enjoy detail: Take a look at HMRC’s website which advises HMRC “You should not take an unduly narrow view of whether the content of any particular course only up-dates existing skills of the individual.”
But if it is clear that, for example, a completely new specialisation or qualification will be acquired as a result of the expenditure, it is unlikely that the expenditure will be “wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the existing trade”.
Also of note, is the article that HMRC use in BIM35660 to prove their point, is also one which they’ve marked as ‘no longer current’ and the case they always use is actually on a different expense (examination re-sit fees where the initial exams were simply not attended). Null and void.
Even if a new ‘qualification’ is obtained, there’s no new knowledge – dentists cover everything at a basic level in their initial training.
A good way to look at it would be to consider if you would need a different line of detail in your income column of your profit and loss – i.e. ‘provision of accountancy services’ and ‘provision of skydiving instruction’ could not be considered in the same line of income.
If you have any questions on this or your specific case please do get in touch. One of our experts will be able to give you much better ability to claim more training costs – even MSc’s in appropriate circumstances and will be able to guide you through what you can and cannot claim.
Call 01872 300232 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.