Can I claim?
In a word, no.
When you meet a client, for whatever reason, any money spent on food, drinks or entertainment is taken from your own pocket and is not tax deductible.
You can no longer claim business expenses for taking a potential client out to lunch or dinner, even if the entire conversation was about work.
The same rules apply about buying tickets to big sporting events or providing other types of hospitality in return for the hope of securing business. This was one of the most abused routes of allowable expenses and the loophole has now been closed permanently.
However when it comes to essential business travel, then the cost of the actual journey can be taken into account - as can any refreshments and/or lodging fees if they fall outside of your ‘normal’ business routine.
- Travelling to an important meeting, or other function, that is necessary for your business (visiting a suppliers warehouse after a safety concern has been raised, for example) may well be tax deductible.
- Visiting a client to take them out on the town, is most assuredly not.
You will find the different categories the “Travel” group of your SimpleTax Self-Employed expenses.
The "Entertainment" category under Self-Employed applies only to staff related costs.
For instance, ‘on property’ staff meetings can have their refreshments taken care of, tax wise; tea, coffee, biscuits and bottled water can be deducted from total earnings.
This also applies to the equipment used, both in the meeting and the business in general.
If your business needs it in order to operate, then the tax on it can be deducted from your total incoming.
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