Can I claim glasses as a business expense?

Question:

“I run my own Limited company and spend most of my time using a computer. My eyesight has worsened and I will need to get a sight check and new glasses. Can I put these through my company?”

 

Can I claim glasses as a business expense

 

Answer:

There are very specific rules surrounding glasses and whether they are allowable for corporation tax and personal tax for directors or employees of a company.

Firstly, as you plan to, you need to go for an eye test. Regular eye tests can be paid for by the company for its directors and employees under health and safety legislation. This is applicable when there is a need to use display screen equipment for spells of one hour or more at any one time and this is a daily occurrence. The results of any eye test will need to show that any lenses prescribed by the optician are for display screen work only and not a general prescription.

If the above is satisfied the company can therefore purchase the corrective eyewear on your behalf and claim these as an expense for corporation tax purposes. Over and above this, in order to not trigger a benefit in kind charge (with personal tax charges against you and national insurance consequences for the company) the glasses must only be used for this purpose. As such, the glasses must be left next to the computer area overnight and not either taken home or taken away from the work area and used for watching the television etc. In practice it is difficult to imagine how this second part can be policed by HMRC.

The above advice only applies to employees and directors of a company, if you are self-employed different rules apply and the likelihood of the lenses being allowable in this instance diminishes significantly.

You might want to read our article below which discusses the main differences between limited companies and sole traders:

Sole trader or limited company pros and cons