Maximising Your Earnings: 20 Expenses Locums Can Claim

Being a locum in the veterinary world comes with its perks, and one significant advantage is the ability to claim various expenses. Understanding what expenses you can legitimately claim is crucial for maximising your earnings and optimising your financial situation. In this blog, we’ll explore 20 expenses that locums can often claim, helping you make the most of your locum journey.

1- Uniform

Locums can claim expenses related to protective clothing necessary for their work. Here’s what you need to know:Nature of the Work:

  • Locums involved in veterinary work often require protective clothing such as scrubs, lab coats, or specialised gear.
  • The clothing claimed must be essential for the work being carried out.
  • When making a claim, specify that the protective clothing is exclusively for work purposes.
  • Be prepared to provide details if required by tax authorities especially if you wear trainers to work! 

2- Bank Charges 

Bank charges incurred for professional purposes can be considered as a legitimate expense for locums. Here’s how you can handle them:

  • Separate Business Accounts:
    • Consider having a separate business account for your locum work. This makes it easier to track business-related transactions, including bank charges.
  • Documentation:
    • Keep detailed records of bank statements highlighting any charges associated with your locum activities.
  • Expense Tracking:
    • Include bank charges as part of your overall expense tracking system. This can be useful during tax filing to accurately reflect your business-related costs.
  • Claimable Amount:
    • Determine the portion of bank charges directly related to your locum work. Only claim the business-related part to ensure accurate representation.

3- Home Office

If you’re a sole trader, then the rules are different – you have two choices, you can choose to claim simplified expenses for the self-employed or you can work out your actual costs by calculating the proportion of personal and business use for your home, e.g. the proportion of utility bill expenses incurred by your business. 

The government’s website www.gov.uk has a simplified expenses checker to help you decide which method is best for you.

Simplified expenses for the self-employed mean you claim a flat rate for your allowable expenses based on the number of hours you work from home each month. You’ll need to work a minimum of 25 hours a month from home to qualify.

If you use simplified expenses, then don’t forget you can also claim the business proportion of your telephone or internet expenses as these aren’t included in the flat rate allowance.

Hours of business use per monthFlat rate per month
25 to 50£10
51 to 100£18
101 and more£26

4- Mobile Phone

If you take out a mobile phone contract in the name of your business, the monthly bill is treated as business expenses. If the entire balance of a mobile phone and its contract is £1,000, this would be recorded as an allowable expense in your accounts. Your taxable profit would reduce and the amount of Corporation Tax you pay would reduce by £190 (for the 2022/23, 2021/22, and 2020/21 tax years). 

If you’re a sole trader rather than a limited company then it would reduce your sole trade profits and therefore your personal tax bill. The personal use of the phone is a tax-free benefit in kind, so you won’t be taxed through your Self Assessment.

5 – Fuel

  • Claimable Rate: The HMRC-approved rate is 0.45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles in a tax year, then it reduces to 0.25p per mile. This rate covers not just fuel but also factors in vehicle maintenance, servicing, and other related costs. If you choose to claim these separately, you’ll need to use fuel receipts, ensuring you only claim for the fuel used for business purposes

6 – Transport

For tracking your travel expenses as a locum, you have a couple of options:

Mileage:

Use Mileage Tracker Software: There are various mileage tracker apps available that can automate the process. They use GPS to log your journeys and calculate the mileage.

Excel Spreadsheet: If you prefer a manual approach, maintain an Excel spreadsheet. Record the date, purpose of the trip, starting and ending locations, and the total mileage..

Public Transport:

Keep receipts for train or bus tickets. These are direct expenses that can be claimed.

7- Accommodation

If you’re working away from home, claiming accommodation costs is a common practice. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Hotel Stays:
    • Keep Receipts: Ensure you keep all receipts for hotel stays. These receipts should clearly display the details of the hotel, the duration of your stay, and the amount paid.
    • Business-Related Stays: It’s essential to establish that the accommodation was necessary for business purposes. If the stay involves a combination of business and personal time, only claim the portion directly related to your work.
  • Temporary Accommodation:
    • If your locum placement requires you to stay in temporary accommodation, these costs can also be claimed.

8- Food

You can claim back money on food and drink if you can prove that it’s done as a business expense. The general rule is that you’re allowed to claim a meal as subsistence, but it has to be outside of your everyday working routine such as at a congress!

But you’ll struggle to claim any money back on a meal deal sandwich you ate before heading back into consults! 

You cannot claim the same amount back if the food you have indulged in is expensive or extravagant. HMRC don’t give a clear definition of what classes as a ‘reasonable’ expense. But they have previously given an example of ‘having an elaborate menu and fine wines’ as ‘meals on an unreasonable scale.’

Don’t go thinking you can claim a meal at the Ritz!

9- Professional Memberships

Professional memberships, such as those with organizations like the British Veterinary Association (BVA) or the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), can be considered legitimate expenses for locums. Determine the portion of the membership fee that is directly related to your locum work. If the membership covers both personal and professional aspects, only claim the business-related portion. Whether you pay your professional membership annually or monthly, both can be claimed as long as they are directly linked to your professional activities.

10- CPD

Continual Professional Development (CPD) is crucial for locums to stay updated and enhance their skills. Here’s how you can handle CPD-related expenses:

  • Event Tickets:
    • Expenses related to event tickets, such as veterinary conferences, seminars, or workshops, can be claimed. Keep the event details, receipts, and any supporting documentation.
  • Online Webinars:
    • If you participate in online webinars or virtual CPD events, expenses associated with these can also be claimed. Ensure you have documentation like receipts or confirmation emails.
  • CPD Subscriptions:
    • Subscriptions to CPD services or platforms can be considered legitimate expenses. This includes memberships to online learning platforms or subscriptions to veterinary-related journals.
  • Travel Costs:
    • If attending an in-person event involves travel, associated costs like mileage, public transport fares, or accommodation can be claimed. Keep records of these expenses.
  • Documentation:
    • Maintain detailed records for each CPD expense, including the purpose of the CPD, the relevance to your professional development, and how it benefits your locum work.
  • HMRC Guidelines:
    • Align your expense claims with HMRC guidelines. CPD expenses that contribute to your professional development and are necessary for your locum work are generally considered allowable.

11 – Work Related Books

If you’re a locum looking to enhance your knowledge through relevant books, you may be able to claim these as legitimate business expenses.Ensure that the books you purchase are relevant to your profession as a locum veterinary professional.If the books contribute to your professional development and skills improvement, they are more likely to be considered allowable expenses. Keep your receipts! 

12- Accountant

Ensure that the books you purchase are relevant to your profession as a locum veterinary professional.Professional Development:If the books contribute to your professional development and skills improvement, they are more likely to be considered allowable expenses.

13 – Bookkeeping Subscription

If you subscribe to bookkeeping platforms like FreeAgent and utilise them for your locum business, the associated fees can be claimed as a business expense. However, it’s crucial to note that if you’re using FreeAgent for free through certain banks, the subscription isn’t an eligible expense, as the service is already complimentary. Keep a record of the paid subscription invoices to support your expense claims during tax assessments.

Free for Natwest , Meatle

Otherwise 10% off subscription if use link below.

14- Equipment e.g Stethoscope

As a locum, essential work equipment, such as a stethoscope or other medical tools, can be claimed as business expenses. Keep track of the receipts for these purchases and maintain a clear record to substantiate your claims when filing for tax deductions. Whether it’s diagnostic equipment or tools critical for your veterinary work, legitimate business-related purchases can help reduce your overall taxable income.

15 – Flights

For locums who travel by air for work assignments, flight costs can be claimed as business expenses. This includes the price of the flight ticket, as well as any additional fees or charges related to the flight. Keep your boarding passes and receipts as evidence to support your claim when reporting these travel expenses for tax purposes. Whether it’s a short domestic flight or an international journey, these costs are recognised as legitimate business expenditures for locum professionals.

16 – Insurance

As a locum, it’s essential to safeguard your income and protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. Insurance premiums, including professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance, and income protection insurance, are all deductible as business expenses. These policies provide financial security and peace of mind, ensuring that you’re covered in case of accidents, legal claims, or periods of illness or incapacity. By investing in comprehensive insurance coverage, you’re not only protecting yourself but also securing your livelihood as a locum professional. Unfortunately there is no PI insurance for RVN locums but MFL is creating one and if you would like to join the empowering movement of change while protecting yourself and our title then please join us. 

Protect yourself for the first time. Protect the industry for the long time.

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17 – Certification

Investing in additional certifications and continuous professional development is a smart move for locums looking to enhance their skills and expand their service offerings. Expenses related to courses, workshops, and certifications directly relevant to your profession can be claimed. Whether it’s a specialised surgical technique, advanced imaging interpretation, or a certification in a specific veterinary discipline, these educational expenses contribute to your professional growth, making you more versatile and in-demand as a locum practitioner.

18- Parking Tickets

While fines for parking violations are generally not tax-deductible, if you incurred a parking charge directly related to your work as a locum, such as paying for parking at a client’s site or during a business-related trip, you may be able to claim it as an allowable expense. Ensure you keep accurate records, including receipts and a note explaining the business purpose, to support your claim. However, fines for traffic violations are typically not considered allowable expenses. Always consult with a tax professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

19 – Computer

Investing in a work-specific computer, whether it’s a laptop or desktop, can be claimed as a legitimate business expense. This includes the cost of the computer itself, as well as any necessary peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, or external hard drive. If the computer is used for both personal and work purposes, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of business use to claim as an expense.

20 – ANYTHING That is related to your business.

As a locum, almost anything related to your business can potentially be claimed as an expense, provided you can demonstrate its relevance and necessity for your work. This might include specialised software, office supplies, business-related subscriptions, or even expenses associated with maintaining a home office. Keeping thorough records and seeking advice from a tax professional will help you make the most of your legitimate business expenses. Always ensure you have proper documentation and receipts to support your claims.

Conclusion:

Understanding the expenses you can claim as a locum is essential for optimising your financial situation. Keep meticulous records, consult with a tax professional, and ensure you’re making the most of the legitimate deductions available. This not only helps in reducing your tax liability but also allows you to reinvest in your professional development and well-being.

Having a dedicated folder or digital file for all your receipts and keeping a record of the business purpose of each stay will make the claiming process much smoother during tax filing.

Remember claiming expenses are for sole trader / ltd locums only. Contact your umbrella company to see what expenses they allow.