More on Self-Employed Expenses

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    Claimant is m-c courier. Has declared expenses in relation to mobile phone. He advises that he has a “package” costing him £30.00 irrespective of the number of calls etc. He only has the one phone. Summary of views so far:

    1. It’s his personal phone and he has incurred no additional expense in using it for his business so we do not allow the expense.

    2. It’s a business phone and we should disallow the “personal / non-business” element.

    The original decision was to apportion the cost but this has been cast in doubt as his charges would be £30.00 whether it’s a personal phone or not.

    Any views or alternatives?


    Try and draw an analagy (think that’s how you spell it! 😳 ) here.

    If someone has a car for work purposes, they may also use it for personal use. My guess is that you would probably apportion some of the expense (petrol, tax, repairs, insurance but not perhaps the purchase price) in this case depending on the division of use – not an exact science but as best you can.

    Is this not the same? Your customer has this facility which he uses for work. Fair enough, but if he uses it for personal use, in the interests of consistancy should you not take a proportion of the costs? (How you will come to an amount will probably depend on what your claimant says – he may say he doesn’t use it for personal calls and you could decide to apportion “nil” or a very small amount).

    I know others may disagree but as a general principle this is what I would recommend to staff here. 8)

    Consistantly yours?


    The problem with the analogy is that this chap pays £30 for a phone package, regardless of how he uses it. If he uses it exclusively for business, it costs him £30. If he uses it exclusively for personal use, it costs him £30. If he uses it for both, it costs him £30.

    Personally, I think £30 a month (I am assuming it’s per month) for business use in his line of work is reasonable, judging by my own business mobile costs. I’d allow the lot.


    I agree that the phone use is reasonable, but you seem have missed off the part of the test that asks whether the expense is “wholly and exclusively” for the purposes of the business. I don’t see how it can be.

    Any element of personal use would mean the expense is not allowable unless it is possible to apportion the expenditure somehow. With things like petrol this makes sense – each time he uses his car, he is using up some of the petrol either for personal or for business use and by apportioning you are making an estimate of how much is used for each.

    I don’t see how you can do that in this case. The calls themselves cost nothing because he’s already paid for a package which gives him free calls. Therefore they have no separate value that you can attach to them. Even if you say he uses the phone for business use 50% of the time there is no separate set of the calls that cost him £15. Each call is not using up some resource like petrol that can be valued separately from the other calls. If you can’t split the £30 into parts then it has to be taken as a whole, and as a whole it is not exclusively used for the business.

    It’s possible of course that tax law has something different to say about this and that I’m completely wrong 🙁 but this is my reading of the words wholly and exclusively.


    I’d think that I’d ask to see his phone contract before making a decision.

    I suspect that he actually gets a set number of minutes for his £30 pm, and that this number of minutes is high enough that he doesn’t go over it. I think that at this point, the amount can be aportioned on the basis of the % of personal and business useage declared.

    The only other thing that I’d be wary about is a query of whether the £30 per month is the true figure, or is he on one of these schemes where you get 9/12 months line rental back when you send in your mobile bills to the company? Not quite sure how you’d deal with that though!

    Hope this is helpful

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