Contractor s Guide to Expenses Step-by-step Guide

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1 Contractor s Guide to Expenses Step-by-step Guide S J D Accountancy Chartered Tax Advisers and Accountants

2 Contracting through your own Limited Company Who are SJD Accountancy? SJD Accountancy are the most recommended accountancy firm on the Internet and are the chosen firm for over 10,000 Contractors and Freelancers running their own limited company s. SJD Accountancy have been providing accountancy services since They pride themselves on their service levels, which put them far ahead of their competition. SJD are the only accountants who offer published service commitments with the back up of a money back guarantee. Click here to see their guarantee. First and only national firm of accountants to be reviewed by KPMG and found to be fully compliant with all HMRC MSC regulations. SJD Accountancy are the UK s largest specialist providers of fixed fee, limited company accountancy services to contractors and freelancers. The only national accountancy firm who specialise in accountancy services specifically tailored to meet the requirements of contractors and freelancers. Winners of the Accountancy Age Awards for Excellence in 2007 and 2004, finalists in 2006, 2005 and Voted by the visitors to as the Best Contractor Accountant. SJD were awarded the Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work For in the UK achieving the highest position ever for a firm of accountants. The first National accountancy firm in the UK to be accredited as a Quality Accountant (QA) by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG). Finalists in the 2007 AXA Business of the Year as awarded by the National Business Awards sponsored by Orange. All inclusive fixed fee structure ( VAT per month) Page 2

3 Expenses Guide What expenses can I claim as a contractor working through my own limited company? If you re a contractor working through your own limited company and are outside IR35 then life is very simple. HM Revenue and Customs rules state that expenses can be claimed provided they are wholly and exclusively for the purposes of your business. This means you can claim things like: Company formation fees, Accountancy fees, Business travel and Accommodation, Postage, Stationery, Telephone calls, Employer s N.I. contributions, Salaries, Subscriptions, Insurance, Contributions to an executive pension plan, Business entertainment etc. A Brief Summary of Allowable Expenses. This is not a comprehensive list of expenditure however it includes the most common expenses that can be reclaimed. Company formation expenses Accountancy fees Business traveling expenses (obeying the two year rule) Postage for business purposes Stationery for business purposes Telephone calls for business purposes Mobile telephone and calls Salaries paid by the Company to the Contractor and Contractor s spouse for work done Employers NI Contributions Contributions to an Executive pension plan Business entertainment Equipment purchased for business purposes Either a mileage allowance or the costs of running a car (if car owned by Company, a benefit in kind charge arises on the Contractor) Computer software Technical books and journals Subscriptions (in most cases) Use of home office Company bank charges and interest Christmas Party allowance - limited to a maximum of 150 per employee Page 3

4 Do I need to keep my receipts? Although your accountant does not need to see your receipts, we would advise that you hold onto any that you make claims for as an expense. We would advise that you keep your receipts for a minimum of six years as the Revenue, if they do decide to investigate they can go back as far as six years. What is and what isn t a valid Business Expense? Meal Allowance You can claim actual meal costs whilst you are working at a remote site, away from your normal place of work, or when staying away from home overnight, but daily, round sum claims for meals are not permitted. Travel You can claim the cost of travel to and from your temporary place of work. Mileage rates are 40p per mile for the first 10,000 miles in any fiscal year and then 25p per mile thereafter. This allowance is to cover fuel and running costs of the vehicle. If you are travelling to work as a passenger in a car you are entitled to claim 5p per mile. You can also claim for parking and the congestion charges but you may not claim for parking fines or speeding fines. The cost of travel by public transport can be claimed but you must have a valid receipt. A mileage allowance can also be claimed for travel by motorcycle and bicycle at rates of 24p per mile and 20p per mile respectively. Accommodation The cost of hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation can be claimed as an expense, as can the reasonable cost of additional meals taken in conjunction with overnight accommodation. There are no set allowances for accommodation but the cost must be deemed to be reasonable ; this also applies to the cost of meals. Clothing You cannot claim for ordinary clothing which would form part of an every day wardrobe even if you would not be likely to wear your working clothes anywhere other than at work. Training Providing the training course is wholly and totally relevant to the performance of your duties under your existing contract. Page 4

5 What if I m inside IR35, what expenses can I claim? If your contract is caught by IR35 then the only expenses claimable are: administration expenses which are fixed at 5% of your contract income, travel and accommodation expenses, pension contributions and certain professional subscriptions. You should, however, still record and receipt all business expenses. What do the Revenue say? In relation to expenses, if you are outside IR35, the revenue quote that you can claim back anything that is wholly and exclusively necessary to carry out the day to day running of your business. HM Revenue and Customs have produced a comprehensive 100 page downloadable pdf called: 2007 Expenses and benefits - A tax guide. A WORD OF CAUTION Remember you cannot claim for something you didn t actually pay for in the first place, or can t provide evidence that you did. You will be personally liable for any underpaid taxes NOT the company you re working through or taking advice from. You should therefore steer clear of companies and scheme providers promoting generous expense allowances with NO receipts required. Page 5

6 Advice on forming a limited company Forming a limited company online only takes 5 minutes and your company should be set up within two hours. All you need is a company name (availability can be checked on our website at no charge) and a credit card to complete the transaction. The formation costs 125 (+vat), included in this price is the following: Organising a Company Bank Account Registering the Company for VAT & PAYE Advising on the optimum share structure of the Company Once you have formed a limited company, you will receive all the necessary limited company documentation, along with an application for free business banking and VAT registration details. During the on-line formation process you will be prompted for several pieces of information: Director details This is you Secretary details Following a change in legislation, as of 6 April 2008 there is no requirement for a company secretary. Subscriber/Shareholder You will need to allocate shares in the company. Dividends are distributed to the shareholder/s of the company, which is how you will take most of your income. Appointing your Accountants Unfortunately there is nothing to stop anyone calling themselves an Accountant. There are however a number of qualifications you should look for before considering appointing someone. Look for the letters ATII, ATT, ACA, FCA, ACMA, FCMA, ACCA, CA or FCCA and you won t go too far wrong. At SJD Accountancy we have accountants covering all of the above qualifications and all accountants are suitably qualified to manage your accounts. SJD were also the first and are currently the only firm of accountants to have been reviewed and found to be fully compliant with all Managed Service Company (MSC) legislation by KPMG. Use of registered office You will need to register your company to a registered office address; most people simply use their home address. There is an advantage however of using SJD as your registered office. We will receive all correspondence direct from Revenue and Customs and Companies House on your behalf. There is a small annual fee VAT for this service. Page 6

7 IR35 Contract reviews Once your company has been formed you will need to establish whether your contract is IR35 compliant. If your contract is through an agency, we initially advise you to check with them on your IR35 status, they are sometimes able to advise you. If your agency are unsure on the status or if the contract is not through an agency, the only way to be sure whether it falls inside or outside IR35 is to have it reviewed by a specialist. If you would like to know whether your contract is IR35 compliant you can send it to us and we will be pleased to give you a verbal review free of charge and give you our opinion whether we think it will be classed as inside or outside IR35. If you would like a complete report performed on the contract, the cost is VAT ( 150 if you are a client or a member of the PCG). Even if you are inside IR35 it may still be worth operating through your own limited company. Call us to find out why: Finding the right contract or freelance role There are thousands of Contractor and Freelancer roles available, so it is important you spend sufficient time planning in advance and looking at what is available in the market. When applying for a contract role, an employer will normally expect you to be ready to start work immediately or within a couple of weeks so planning ahead is crucial. It makes sense to arrange your limited company in advance. For a consolidated view of the market from recruitment agencies and corporates you can search online using job boards. Many jobs boards often have a free alerts facility, whereby you are automatically sent an /rss feed when a new job is advertised that matches your specified criteria, for example Java Developer London. You can set up multiple alerts with different criteria. It is advisable to register your cv with a job board such as which allows you to save variations of your cv and covering letter so that you can tailor applications for specific jobs. By registering your cv, agencies can contact you directly when the right position arises that matches your skills. If you have any questions about contracting through your own limited company or would like any further advice please either contact your SJD Accountant or call our new client services helpdesk on or Page 7

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