Mythbusting

My (not so) little boy has recently got into watching Mythbusters on TV and it got me thinking about some accounting and bookkeeping myths that I thought I’d tackle (not in the same way as the TV program if you’ve seen it!).

Myth – You can put all your food & drink through as an expense
HMRC disagree with this, as they see food and drink as something you need to live (understandably!) so you can’t claim it as an expense. What is allowed is the cost of basic food & drink for your staff, including free meals at a canteen, as long as they’re available to all – this doesn’t apply if you are the only employee/director. When you’re travelling for work you can claim for food & drink, including overnight stays. If you’re travelling to a temporary workplace then you can claim, such as a temporary work site or a meeting.

Myth – You can claim for your clothes you where for work
This one isn’t as clear to bust, as you can claim for a uniform you purchase and any clothing that features the company logo. PPE is also an allowable expense, but that nice pair of shoes you’ve brought yourself are not going to be justifiable!

Myth – Having your books done by a bookkeeper/accountant is expensive
I’d love to say that this myth is busted but it’s actually down to personal opinion – we certainly don’t believe it’s expensive, especially if it’s freeing up your time to expand your business and do what you do best (or just to give you your weekend back to spend with your family) – it’s essentially the same as any business expense, if you feel the service is worth the cost then it’s worth it!

Myth – Dividends are classed as an expense
A lot of people seem to think that dividends are taken out of the profit before corporation tax is paid like an expense would be but this is incorrect, they are drawn on the profit after it has been taxed.

Myth – VAT should only be registered for when you have to
The final myth is a bit of a trickier one, as it varies from business to business, there’s no one size fits all answer. One major concern will be the effect it will have on your customers – if they are other businesses already registered for VAT then although they’d physically (well probably not actually in this day & age) give you more money they’d be claiming the VAT back so it won’t change for them. If you’ve non VAT registered companies or the general public then they would feel the effect of the increase if you just add VAT to your prices so it would then be up to you to decide if you were going to swallow some or all of that increase. So the myth isn’t busted but isn’t confirmed either!  

Is there any you’d like to add? Email us and let us know and we’d be happy to do a second myth busting!

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