Every business owner is eligible to claim legitimate business expenses, and partners in GP practices are no different. But unlike many other businesses, the extent and the nature of what can be claimed by GPs is very different.
Motoring expenses can be claimed in one of two ways.
The first, is a flat rate of £0.45 per mile up to 10,000 miles, and then £0.25 per mile for every mile over 10,000. These are rates set by HMRC and apply to just business travel. They will not include the commute to and from the practice, but will include any travel associated with locum work or home visits.
More typical is to claim for all motoring expenses, with a share, usually based on the business and personal mileage, apportioned for domestic use. This approach allows for all motoring costs – the annual MOT, fuel, tax, and maintenance – to be claimed alongside any capital allowances.
Phone and internet
HMRC will typically allow the following to be claimed:
- Mobile – all bundle costs and additional calls to be restricted for private use.
- Landline – cost of line rental. Personal calls to be restricted for private use.
- Internet – all associated costs
Most GP practices will arrange locum cover through the practice rather than via individual partners. However, some GPs will bring in a locum to cover some of their sessions. In such instances, locums will invoice the partner directly with the partner is able to claim it as a personal expense.
Subscriptions can represent a significant expense to GPs, whether to professional and regulatory bodies, appraisal programmes or magazine. All subscription costs associated with work can be claimed as a legitimate expense.
Training and continued professional development
HMRC takes a tough line on what it considers a legitimate business expense. Training courses, continued professional development and most conferences are considered legitimate expenses. Any travel to and from a training course or conference can also be claimed.
However, if a GP wishes to explore a more specialised area of medicine that involves studying, attending courses and events, HMRC may question its legitimacy as a business expense.
Taking advice from your accountant is recommended.
Clothing and equipment
Many of the big items a GP practice needs will, of course, most likely be purchased by the practice. However, GPs will often purchase smaller items themselves and these, naturally, can be claimed as business expenses.
However, many GPs fail to realise that they can also claim for any items of specialist clothing, glasses and IT and computing equipment. It is also possible to claim for certain items of dry-cleaning if required.
Working from home
GPs have always been able to claim for any costs incurred when working from home over and above the use of landlines and internet connections mentioned earlier. However, the Covid pandemic has made this a little more complex.
HMRC allows a standard rate of £6 per week to be claimed for those that work at home for part of the working week. It will in most instances be sufficient and the easiest way to claim.
However, if an individual works for home for extended periods it is possible to claim based on the number of hours spent working from home. This becomes complex, with HMRC wanting information on the number of rooms in a house, an apportionment of heating and lighting by those rooms and their size. Advice is often needed and the calculations tend not to be too far removed from the standard rate of £6 per week.
How Hillier Hopkins can help
Hillier Hopkins has extensive experience of helping GPs with their expense claims. The firm has created a proforma expense claim form that covers almost every scenario a GP may experience. GPs can simply complete the form and let Hillier Hopkins manage the rest.