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December Question and Answer Section

Q. In September 2013 I started working through my own company but I haven't drawn a salary yet. Can I award myself tax free childcare vouchers as an employee of my company? I was previously on a salary of £50,000 with my former employer. Would that affect the amount of childcare vouchers I can receive tax free in this tax year?

A. As an employee of your company you can receive childcare vouchers. The other conditions of a childcare voucher scheme must also be met, For example, all other employees of your company should be offered childcare vouchers on the same terms. Your previous salary is not relevant to the amount of tax free childcare vouchers you can receive from your current employer. If your expected salary for this tax year (don't include dividends or bonuses you may receive), will be less than the basic rate band - pro rata over the rest of the year, you can receive the maximum of £55 of tax free childcare vouchers per week.

Q. I act as a DJ for parties and other events. For themed parties (e.g. Halloween, 1970s) I wear clothes to suit the occasion. Can I claim the cost of those clothes as an expense in my self-employed accounts?

A. The Taxman will not allow a deduction for the cost of ordinary clothes which are required "for warmth and decency". However, where the item is needed for safety purposes, like a hard-hat on a building site, the cost is allowable. The same applies for the cost of a costume worn to identify the person in a role, such as a barrister's legal wig and gown, then the cost is normally allowable.

If your clothes amount to a costume for entertaining, then the cost is normally allowable. However, if you also wear those clothes as part of your everyday wardrobe for warmth and decency then the cost is not allowable. Try asking yourself: "would I wear this when I am not working as a DJ". If the answer is 'yes', the cost is not allowable.

Q. My company is considering purchasing a VW Caravelle for me to use as my family vehicle. It is sold by the commercial van centre rather than the VW car dealer. Does that mean the company can claim back the VAT on it?

A. VAT can only be reclaimed on commercial vehicles such as; lorries, vans, buses, or cars used for daily rental to customers or as demonstration vehicles in the motor industry. Irrespective of who sells the vehicle, if it is designed to carry people rather than goods it is a car not a van, unless it's a bus designed to carry 12 or more people. To qualify as a van it must have a payload of at least 1000Kg.


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Dakins Property Services

Great Results, Personable, High Integrity

Choice Events Limited

All at Beauchamp Charles are very helpful, approachable and easy to talk to. They keep me informed with key dates; I can feel totally confident that I won't ever miss any deadlines! Whoever I deal with, always deal with matters professionally and efficiently and if they are unavailable they get back to me promptly.

FT leisure Ltd

I have worked with Beauchamp Charles as our management accountants for over 20 years and have never received anything less than exceptional service. Their approach is both professional and personal. Finances and particularly tax strategies are a minefield for small businesses; Beauchamp Charles have in-depth knowledge of these area, which is comforting. They pay very close attention to our business activities and have provided financial strategies that have helped our company develop.

Fredrick Thomas Electrical and Maintenance

We have used Beauchamp Charles since company formation back in 1998. Beauchamp Charles offers us a one to one service as they are small enough to offer this dedicated service and large enough to do the work and offer best advice. They get to know us as individuals and a business, always giving sound advice. Frederick Thomas Electrical are in a stronger place thanks to the service we get from them.

Barnes Walker Landscapes Limited

We are a small business and had employed the same accountancy firm for many years. Two years ago we took the decision to switch to Beauchamp Charles after several othe local businesses recommended them very highly to us. We have not been disappointed with the service they have provided to us over these last two years.