Subsistence Expenses

(2 minutes to read)

Being able to claim back on subsistence expenses while travelling for work is just one of the many benefits that come with being self-employed.


Claiming back on expenses that are wholly and exclusively made for the running of your business is a great way to reduce your tax bill at the end of each year.

Typical allowable expenses include:

  • Office costs (stationary, printer ink/cartridges, postage, phone/mobile/internet bills).
  • Clothing expenses (should you require specific protective wear, a uniform or costume).
  • Financial costs (hiring an accountant).
  • Training courses (as long as they are related to your current line of work and will help improve your skills and knowledge).
  • If you work from home, you may be able to claim a proportion of costs for your heating, electricity, Council tax, mortgage interest/rent and internet/telephone use.

However, the expenses you are entitled to will all depend on your type of self-employment.

For example, a limited company contractor will have additional running costs that won’t apply to those working as a sole trader, and an umbrella company contractor is generally unable to claim for expenses due to the fact that they are considered an employee.

Do you want £105 + VAT per month accountancy?

Yes I do

Subsistence expenses

One of the few expenses that mostly apply to all self-employed workers is subsistence while travelling for work reasons.

It’s worth pointing out that these expenses are not allowable if you’re travelling to your normal place of work.

Typical subsistence expenses include:

  • Train, bus, air and taxi fares
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Fuel
  • Hire charges
  • Breakdown cover
  • Hotel rooms
  • Meals on overnight business trips

There is the option of using simplified expenses for your car, van or motorcycle for mileage instead of calculating the actual costs of buying and running your vehicle.

A flat rate is applied in the following way:

  • Cars and goods vehicles for the first 10,000 miles – 45p per mile
  • Cars and goods vehicles after 10,000 miles – 25p per mile
  • Motorcycles – 24p per mile

How do you claim for an expense?

All expenses will need to be added to your self-assessment tax return.

It’s essential that you keep records and receipts of all business costs for at least three years from the end of the tax year they relate to, this way you have proof should HMRC have any queries about the expenses you’ve claimed for.

We hope this page has answered some of your questions on subsistence expenses. Our team of experts are available to answer any queries you may have, so drop us a line on 01442 795 100 or email

You may also like to read

Why Dolan Accountancy?

With over 25 years experience in contractor accountancy helping thousands of contractors, freelancers and the self employed, Dolan Accountancy has the specialist skills, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £105 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours.
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With IR35 Legislation changes we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella.
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams.
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – The founder behind the multi award winning FreeAgent platform was one of Simon’s first clients, therefore it only seems fitting that we offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge.
  • Free Business Banking – We have decided to waive our commission so our clients can use Tide free of charge for the first year.
  • Unlimited IR35 Status Reviews – We will review all of your contracts for IR35 purposes and provide you with our professional opinion as to its status.
  • Free Registered and Director’s Service Office Address – Sometimes you just don’t want your home address on display at Companies House. When you sign up to our accountancy services, we will offer the use of our address as an alternative.
  • Your Business and Personal Taxation Needs – This includes Company Accounts, Director’s Personal Tax Return, VAT Returns, Payroll, Corporation Tax and Dividend advice, to name just a few.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795100 or email or