What Travel Expenses can I Claim as a Contractor?

(3 minutes to read)

If you need to travel anywhere for work purposes, then you will be able to claim back certain expenses. These include mileage, public transport, subsistence and accommodation costs.

There are now more people than ever before choosing the contracting lifestyle and with the numerous benefits that come hand-in-hand with this way of working, it’s no surprise to see why.

As someone who is self-employed you will have the type of freedom and flexibility that a permanent worker can only dream of, plus there is also the fact that you could potentially earn more than a ‘traditional’ employee who is in the same role.

Another benefit is that contractors are able to claim back purchases that are made for the running of their business, which in turn will reduce their tax bill at the end of each year.

Typical contractor expenses

If you contract as a Sole Trader or through an Umbrella Company you won’t be eligible for as many expenses as a Limited Company, making this the most tax efficient method of contracting.

The most common types of contractor expenses includes:

  • Travel
  • Your company’s commercial rent, heating and lighting
  • Computers and software
  • Stationery
  • Accountancy fees
  • Advertising or marketing costs- such as a website

There is also the fact that if you work from home, it may be possible for you to claim an allowance to cover the costs for things like heating, electricity, internet and telephone use.

It is important to be aware that with any expenses you wish to claim, you will need to keep hold of receipts for proof of these purchases, for a minimum of 6 years.

At the end of each tax year you will need to add up all of your allowable expenses and factor them into your accounts and tax return.

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Travel expenses

As mentioned previously, travel costs are one of the most common types of expenses that contractors can claim back on. This is extremely useful, as many contractors can find that they spend quite a bit of time and money travelling to clients and customers.


For cars and goods vehicles, you are able to claim 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles. This will then go down to 25p per mile once you reach over 10,000 miles.

Just ensure that you make a note of the date of the journey with its start and end location, the reason for the journey and the number of miles.

Travelling on business

If you have to work in a place that is temporary and not your usual base, you will be able to claim back on any subsistence and accommodation – as long as it is seen as being reasonable and not ‘excessive’.

Business journey expenses can include:

  • Hotel accommodation
  • Food and drink- excluding alcohol
  • Any public transport costs
  • Congestion charges and tolls
  • Parking fees

There is also the option to stay in rented accommodation instead of a costly hotel, if you know that you would need to be in a different area for work for a longer period of time.

In this case there are of course rules that will determine whether this is in fact an allowable expense.

For example, the property lease should be taken out in the company name with payment coming out of the company’s bank account.


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 795 100, email sophie.lewis@dolanaccountancy.com or jaime.thorpe@dolanaccountancy.com or make contact via live chat

The rental accommodation must only be used for work, otherwise you cannot claim the full cost of rent.

If the standard of location is particularly high (excessive) or your family are staying with you in the property, then this will not be an allowable expense.

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Why Dolan Accountancy?

Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brand SJD Accountancy. With over 25 years experience in the contracting marketing, Dolan Accountancy has the heritage, 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 changes in Public Sector IR35 Legislation 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.
  • Same day payments- We offer same day payments as standard providing funds are received into our account by 9am, for no additional fee.

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 sophie.lewis@dolanaccountancy.com or jaime.thorpe@dolanaccountancy.com.