Claiming certification exam fees as expenses
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    Default Claiming certification exam fees as expenses

    So I've had a look at the training expenses guide, and wanted to be sure I understood it properly.

    IT contractor guide to training expenses :: Contractor UK

    This would be me as sole proprietor of my Ltd, claiming for exams that I would take myself.

    The "capital vs revenue" rule seems to exclude most types of training course, but if I self-taught (or took a course but didn't claim expenses for it), then wouldn't the exam fees on their own be allowable? On the basis that I was certifying knowledge I already possessed, even if I only gained that knowledge recently. The exams I want to take are for things I already know quite well, and I'm planning to fill any gaps in my experience by home study from textbooks, practice exams, Youtube etc.

    Would this depend on the person requirements for any work I was undertaking, ie that I could only claim for things my client insisted on? In that case, what about exams taken on spec before I am offered a contract, but which are likely to be useful in getting one?

    Finally, I haven't set up my Ltd yet. Been working thru a brolly until now. Would I need to launch the company before taking the exams, and would the company need to book and pay for them through its own bank account?

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    This has been answered several times. In essence, if the exam fees are directly related to the work you do for clients it is claimable, if it's not, it isn't. If you are qualifying knowledge you have and that you use in your day job, as you imply, then it's claimable. If you were looking to learn bookkeeping to run your company better, then it's not.

    As for who pays, YourCo can or you can and claim it back. As a general principle, however, I stick to the rule that MyCo pays for all business expenses; I totally fail to see the benefit is spending my money on company cots, even if I do get it all back again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by malvolio View Post
    This has been answered several times
    Thanks for answering. My question was a fairly narrow one, just about cert exam fees, and I'd only seen the question of training courses come up before. These will be for skills I already possess, give or take a bit of revision from books.

    Would you say I'm risking trouble if I claim for certs that turn out not to be required in my next job description (which I don't know yet)?

    I was only thinking of paying the fees myself because the company doesn't exist yet. I expect it will take a few weeks to get organised (including a bank account), and at the moment I'm a gentleman of leisure so I wanted to do the exams soonish, before my next gig starts.
    Last edited by moyabrit; 24th January 2015 at 23:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moyabrit View Post
    Thanks for answering. My question was a fairly narrow one, just about cert exam fees, and I'd only seen the question of training courses come up before. These will be for skills I already possess, give or take a bit of revision from books.

    Would you say I'm risking trouble if I claim for certs that turn out not to be required in my next job description (which I don't know yet)?

    I was only thinking of paying the fees myself because the company doesn't exist yet. I expect it will take a few weeks to get organised (including a bank account), and at the moment I'm a gentleman of leisure so I wanted to do the exams soonish, before my next gig starts.
    In which case they're not claimable. End of.
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    Edit: Ignore me, misread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malvolio View Post
    In which case they're not claimable. End of.
    Sorry, but do you mean the exam fees aren't claimable because my company doesn't exist yet, or because I don't yet have a specific job description in front of me which asks for those certs? It isn't clear which point you're responding to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moyabrit View Post
    So I've had a look at the training expenses guide, and wanted to be sure I understood it properly.

    IT contractor guide to training expenses :: Contractor UK

    This would be me as sole proprietor of my Ltd, claiming for exams that I would take myself.

    The "capital vs revenue" rule seems to exclude most types of training course, but if I self-taught (or took a course but didn't claim expenses for it), then wouldn't the exam fees on their own be allowable? On the basis that I was certifying knowledge I already possessed, even if I only gained that knowledge recently. The exams I want to take are for things I already know quite well, and I'm planning to fill any gaps in my experience by home study from textbooks, practice exams, Youtube etc.

    Would this depend on the person requirements for any work I was undertaking, ie that I could only claim for things my client insisted on? In that case, what about exams taken on spec before I am offered a contract, but which are likely to be useful in getting one?

    Finally, I haven't set up my Ltd yet. Been working thru a brolly until now. Would I need to launch the company before taking the exams, and would the company need to book and pay for them through its own bank account?
    Talk to your accountant.

    Ive put several training courses and exam fees through my then businesses. I havent had a problem with doing this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by moyabrit View Post
    Sorry, but do you mean the exam fees aren't claimable because my company doesn't exist yet, or because I don't yet have a specific job description in front of me which asks for those certs? It isn't clear which point you're responding to.
    If YourCo doesn't exist, how can you claim a business cost against it? Expenses aren't magic money, you (or YourCo) have to spend it to claim it. Also you can only claim things that are "wholly and exclusively" related to your business and you only save the tax anyway, either CT or PAYE.
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    Quote Originally Posted by malvolio View Post
    If YourCo doesn't exist, how can you claim a business cost against it? Expenses aren't magic money, you (or YourCo) have to spend it to claim it. Also you can only claim things that are "wholly and exclusively" related to your business and you only save the tax anyway, either CT or PAYE.
    Never thought they were. I wanted to pay for exams right now with my personal cash, so I can sit them as soon as possible while I'm not in work, then claim them as expenses later on once I've got a new contract and started working again. Fair enough if it's against the rules though.
    Last edited by moyabrit; 29th January 2015 at 16:48.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moyabrit View Post
    Never thought they were. I wanted to pay for exams right now with my personal cash, so I can sit them as soon as possible while I'm not in work, then claim them as expenses later on once I've got a new contract and started working again. Fair enough if it's against the rules though.
    Ultimately, I think it would come down to whether you could argue that the skills were reinforcing existing knowledge that is something related to what you do.

    For example, I'm not a DBA, but I am a technical developer. I deal with DBAs on every project, and therefore having some DBA knowledge wouldn't be a bad thing. Training to be a DBA would reinforce the existing knowledge that is applicable to the role that I am doing (even though it's not a DBA role). Therefore, if I did the DBA certification, I would have no qualms about expensing the training and the exam fees, even though the role that I am doing is not (nor will it ever be) that of DBA.

    So, what do you do and what are you trying to expense? If you could argue that they are close enough, then I'd claim it - I'm not suggesting you claim your photography course to help you as a website developer, but would anyone from HMRC be able to prove that a .net training course is disallowed because primarily you're a Java developer?
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