Clothing Cost for Self Employed

I am a self-employed freelance journalist, and while I do work at home, there are frequent occasions when it is necessary for me to visit clients in their workplaces in appropriate business dress. I need to buy a couple of new suits for such meetings – is this considered an allowable expense for tax purposes?

1st December 2008

This is one of a variety of expenses which the courts have held to have an "intrinsic duality of purpose" – which means they are not deductible for tax purposes.

The suits are actually classed as “ordinary clothing worn by a trader during the course of their trade”, and are not deductible expenditure for tax purposes. This is the case regardless of whether particular standards of dress are required, for example to comply with the rules of a professional body, or simply for the trader to keep up appearances on meeting clients – because these items are regarded as ‘everyday' wardrobe.

Conversely, the cost of clothing that is not part of an ‘everyday' wardrobe, such as protective clothing and uniforms, is deductible for tax purposes, together with the cost of putting a company logo on the items.

By Jo Nockels

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