Question:

I am a freelance web developer operating as a self-employed Sole Trader. I use my mobile phone heavily for business, although I also use it personally. Can I claim some of my mobile phone expenses as a business expense on my tax return and if so, how much?

shutterstock_203557948

Answer:

Yes you can claim some of your mobile phone costs as a business expense. HMRC are quite happy for you to claim a fair portion of your costs that relate to the business. As to what percentage of your costs to claim, this is the tricky bit.

What you should in theory do is go through one or two sample months of bills each year and highlight your business use vs personal and use that as a basis of what % of your total bill to claim as a business expense.

In reality we tend to be a bit more pragmatic and suggest that if you use your mobile phone heavily for business and just a bit personally then to claim perhaps 80% of the total costs for business would be fair and justifiable. However if you use it quite evenly for business and personally, then we would suggest claiming perhaps 50%.

What you need to remember is that you might have to justify this percentage to HMRC in the event of an enquiry, so keep a note of your workings and lean on the side of caution when it comes to what % to claim.

Also please be aware that the above guidance is only suitable for the self-employed (those operating as a Sole Trader or a Partnership) – the rules for Limited Companies are very different.

Mobile phone expenses are one of the most common expenses for freelancers but it’s worth checking out our guide which details some of the other common business costs for the self employed.