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Course Fees - A valid expense?

Claiming course fees as a business expense is a grey area.  It really depends on whether you can successfully justify to HMRC that the course is "wholly and exclusively" for the purpose of the business.

One extreme example would be if you were a gas installation company then a health and safety course for staff could easily be justified as a business expense because the company could not trade safely with-out it.

At the other extreme - if you were an IT consultant looking for a change of career into property investment then a course on this would not be allowed as an expense as it's not related to the company's current business.

If HMRC decides this is not a valid expense then the individual will be taxed on this benefit as if it were salary income which will leave them in a worse position than if the payment was made as a dividend to pay the course fees personally.

If you are claiming it as a business expense then the course fees should be paid via business account and invoices from the provider need to be made out to the company.

As an anecdote - Tempo Accounting pays for it's staff to gain further accounting qualifications.  We know that the courses are directly for the benefit of the business and so claim the expense with no concern.  However, we probably would not claim a staff's MBA course as an expense because it's more to the benefit of the individual than the company.