As a freelancer, your workload is rarely empty. Even when your projects are in a lull and your big clients haven’t got back to you in a few days, there’s always something you can be doing.
Often, it’s at these times that managing your finances sneaks to the top of the pile and looms into consciousness.
Just like any other business owner, as a freelancer you will have running costs that occur on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. But, if you’re self-employed, there are a number of expenses that you can deduct to work out your taxable profit.
If you are unsure about what you can claim and what is verboten, follow our simple guide to your tax return claims.
If you have to travel for work, then you can claim certain aspects of your commute back through allowable business expenses. For example, you can claim for a proportion of your vehicle insurance, parking, hotel rooms and travels fares.
Another way to claim is to use a flat rate based on the mileage for your vehicle.
However, you cannot claim for non-business-related travel costs, nor can you claim for the travel between your home and your place of work.
Stationery, technology and mobile phone
Internet, telephone and mobile phone charges are all important aspects of your business, and so you are entitled to claim expenses for each.
But it’s important to remember that if you use your phone for both business and personal use, you must claim the percentage of business use.
You can also claim for printing material, ink, stamps and stationery as required as allowable expenses.
If you have an income of less than £150,000 a year and you are a sole trader or partner, then you can use a cash basis system to claim for computers, printers and other equipment that you are likely to use for over two years.
Buildings and business premises
Just like any business owner, as a freelancer you can claim expenses for your place of work. This will include aspects such as utility bills, business rates, and rent for the premises.
If you work from home, you can also claim the cost of expenses for your home, but only the percentage that is used for your business.
For example, if you have an office for work and four other rooms for leisure, then you can claim 20% of your monthly rent.
It is important to remember you cannot claim expenses for purchasing business premises.
Need more advice on handling your tax return? Check out our guide to taxes for freelancers.