Readers’ surgery: Tax relief on college courses, paying executors and car sharing

5 min Read Published: 22 Jun 2011

Today's Readers' Surgery covers tax reliefs for the employed and the self employed as well as a question on whether the Executors of a will are paid.

Reader Question:

As a self employed person do I get tax allowance for car sharing and for my college course costs for becoming an electrician?

My response:

As you are self employed you can get tax relief for all your business expenses that are for your business. If you pay for something that you use for business and privately - like your phone - and the bill can be split, you can get relief for the bit that's just for your business.

Your business expenses might include:

  • buying stock or materials and paying subcontractors
  • business premises costs
  • repairs and renewals
  • motor and travelling
  • advertising
  • legal and professional fees
  • general office costs

For full details see https://www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax/relief-self-emp.htm

As for whether you can claim tax relief for your course then it's a difficult one. HMRC guidance isn't as clear as it might be. The widely held interpretation is that if a sole trader takes a course to learn a new skill, ie. to become an electrician, then this is not eligible for tax relief. But if you are a already an electrician and are taking a course to update your skills then tax relief is available.

But seek the advice of an accountant.

As for tax relief on car sharing then the answer is no. Although you may be able to claim tax relief on business journeys (see earlier link for more details)

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Reader Question:

In the event of my death will there be any money payable to my Personal Representative now that I am retired and receive a pension in my own name as well as a small one in my husband's name?

My response:

The phrase Personal Representative refers to the executors or administrator of your estate in the event of your death. An executor is usually appointed via a will while an administrator is usually appointed by law if someone dies without a will. However, their roles are the same.

Assuming that you have a will then the executors (who you appoint) won't be paid unless you decide to leave them a cash gift. However, they are usually allowed to reclaim expenses incurred by them in administering your estate.

If you appoint a professional executor clauses are usually included in the will to provide that they are paid their fees.

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Reader Question:

I am a Production Manager in an Engineering company. What tax relief items can I claim for?

My response:

As I don't have a full grasp of what your job entails then it is impossible to say. I am not even sure whether you are self employed or employed?

But to give you a rough idea, employees for example might be able to get tax relief on the following:

  • travel and subsistence
  • work tools or special clothing (including cleaning them)
  • fees and subscriptions to professional bodies
  • expenses of home working
  • capital expenditure

Full details can be found here:

https://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/BeginnersGuideToTax/IncomeTax/Taxallowancesandreliefs/DG_078323

I  hope that helps

Best Wishes

Damien

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