Tax Deductible expenses for Sole Traders, What are they?

When calculating your tax bill you may be able to use expenses as a tax deduction.

What expenses can I claim as a self-employed person or sole trader?

Allowed expenses - day to day running costs

Specific disallowed expenses

What does this mean?

The rule of thumb is that if you incurred expenditure that is wholly and exclusively for the purpose of (for example) providing physio services (e.g. indemnity/insurance, equipment, commercial rent, website costs, motor costs, training/education, accountant fees, courier costs, stationary, etc.) then you can deduct it from your gross income figure to determine the amount which will be subject to income tax in your self-assessment tax return. If you are planning on working from home, then a portion of your electricity/phone/internet bills will be allowable as a tax-deductible expense. You may also be interested in reading our payroll guide for small businesses.

Understanding tax deductible expenses is very valuable

 Just to give an example:  if you bought a website for personal use (i.e. a blog), and you paid €2,000, you would have to earn €2,500 gross income to pay for that website (Gross income €2,500; No deductible expenditure as website is for personal use, taxable income = €2,500; Assuming lower rate of tax at 20% = €500 tax payable, and you receive €2,000 into your hand to spend on the website). Now, if the website was for self-employed business use, then you would be allowed to deduct the cost of that website from your gross self-employed income BEFORE calculating your tax liability – this in effect saves you €400 in tax. (Gross income €2,500, less deductible expenses of €2,000 = taxable income of €500, tax payable at 20% = €100).

If you are not able to vouch for expenditure (i.e. invoice or receipt, proof of payment) then it will not be an allowable deduction when it comes to calculating your tax liability. It is generally a good idea to keep track of all income and all business purchases in an excel workbook throughout the year, and keep all relevant invoice/receipts organised in a folder. See our guide to filling out a form 12 as well.