Expenses for Medical Professionals

During your working life, sometimes you will incur expenses for things you need for your job that your employer will not reimburse. 

These things might only be needed for your job and nothing else. In instances like this, you may feel out of pocket however HMRC allows you to claim tax relief on certain expenses you incur.

For medical professionals, it is good to know there are various work expenses they can claim against their income to receive tax relief. This relief could be worth 45% of taxes paid for additional rate taxpayers, 40% for higher rate taxpayers and 20% for basic rate taxpayers.

What are the rules for claiming expenses?

There are rules in place as to what expenses can be claimed. The general rule is that expenses must be incurred wholly, exclusively, and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the job. 

You are unable to claim tax relief if your employer reimburses you or you go out of your way to buy an item for work that your employer already provides.

The time limit to make claims for expenses incurred is generous. 

Expenses should be claimed within four years of the end of the tax year in which the expense was incurred for the course of employment. This means you can currently go back to the 2017/18 tax year and claim any unclaimed work-related expenses.

Expenses above £2,500 must be claimed through self-assessment however claims below this amount can be claimed using the online services provided via the Government Gateway.

What are the common healthcare expenses?

Professional fees and subscriptions

Professional fees and subscriptions can run into the thousands for medical professionals especially if you are sitting your exams.

HMRC allow you to claim tax relief on membership fees and annual subscription so long as they are included on the HMRC approved professional bodies or learned societies list. 

The BMA, GMC, RCGP along with many other medical bodies are included on this list.

HMRC also allow medical professionals to claim tax relief on exam costs, HMRC has put together a list of exams they have identified as qualifying for tax relief, this list includes exams from the Royal College of Anaesthetists to exams from the Royal College of Surgeons. 

The list however is not exhaustive and other exams may qualify for tax relief, so it is best to seek advice if you are unsure.

Clothing and equipment

Tax relief can be claimed on expenditure on cleaning, repairing, or replacing specialist clothing. This includes items such as theatre shoes, scrubs, and hospital uniforms.

There are various small items that last for less than two years that medical professionals must replace or repair in the course of employment. 

The cost of this equipment can be claimed against income to receive tax relief. Stethoscopes, loupes, and otoscopes are just a few examples of what can be claimed.

The cost of PPE cannot be claimed as a work-related expense. Your employer should provide you with PPE or reimburse you for the cost of PPE purchased.

Courses

Training courses are expensive and medical professionals have to do various courses as part of their continuing professional development. 

Employers often pay towards the costs of these courses however sometimes there may be a course you think would be good for your continuing professional development. HMRC see these courses as you investing in yourself and your career progression, therefore the cost of these courses cannot be set against your income to receive tax relief.

Travel and overnight expenses

If you are required to travel for work by your employer you may be able to claim tax relief for the cost of travel, the money you’ve spent on food or overnight expenses. You cannot claim the costs of your normal travel to and from work unless you are travelling to a temporary place of work. If you are reimbursed by your employer for these costs, they will not be tax-deductible.

There are approved milage rates set by HMRC which you can use to calculate the amount of tax relief you are due for your business mileage. 

These are as follows, you cannot claim costs separately for the maintenance of your vehicle.

Approved mileage rates

First 10,000 business miles in the tax yearEach business mile over 10,000 in the tax year
Cars and vans45p25p
Motorcycles24p24p
Bicycles20p20p

If you are away for work and are staying overnight you can claim tax relief on expenses you’ve incurred during the course of your stay. 

Examples of what you may be able to claim are as follow.

  • Public transport costs
  • Hotel accommodation if you must stay overnight
  • Food and drink
  • Congestion charges and parking costs

Expenses you can claim may seem straightforward however there may be certain expenses that may fall into the ‘unknown’ category.

How can MHA Moore & Smalley help me?

If you are a medical professional and are looking for specialist advice, our healthcare experts are here to help.

Please fill in the form below and one of our specialists will be in touch.