In the run up to the 31st of January self-assessment deadline, the HMRC has released a list of some of the most optimistic expense claims that they have seen. The recent press release aims to provide some clarity on the types of items that can’t be claimed as a business expense.

The list includes:

– Holiday flights to the Caribbean

– Luxury watches as Christmas gifts for staff – from a company with no employees

– International flights for dental treatment ahead of business meetings

– Pet food for a Shih Tzu “guard dog”

– Armani jeans as protective clothing for a painter and decorator

– Cost of regular Friday night “bonding sessions” – running into thousands of pounds

– Underwear – for personal use

– A garden shed for private use – plus the costs of the space it takes up in the garden

– Betting slips

– Caravan rental for Easter weekend

HMRC said that “all of the expenses above were rejected”.

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “year after year we receive a number of ludicrous expense claims, ranging from international holiday flights to expensive designer clothing, which we would never uphold. Why should the honest taxpayer pick up the bill for others? HMRC will only accept those claims which are genuine such as legitimate travel expenses or the cost of tools for the job”.

Should you find yourself confused about what you can and can’t claim as an expense, you should ensure that you always speak to your accountant. Even if it may sound like a silly question it’s crucial that you receive the best advice possible to avoid any fines should you be caught by the HMRC.

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If you are looking for guidance and advice ahead of the self-assessment deadline, do not hesitate to get in touch with Gorilla Accounting. You can give us a call on 0330 024 0406, alternatively, you can email us at