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September 2012 Question and Answer
Q. I run my own company from an office in a spare bedroom at home, and my wife runs a separate company from a downstairs office in the same house. Can we both claim £3 per week expenses for use of home from our companies? Would the situation be different if we both worked full time for the same company?
A. Yes, you can both claim the use of home expense allowance, which is now £4 per week as from 6 April 2012. It makes no difference whether you both work for the same company or for different companies.
Q. I own a number of rental properties but this year I've been sued over unpaid service charges. The dispute has been resolved, but I've been left with legal costs. Can I deduct those legal costs from the property rental income for the year?
A. In general any legal fees associated with acquiring or improving the property or defending the title to the property or extending a lease on a property cannot be deducted from the rental income, as they are capital expenditure. Other legal fees associated with annual bills or service charges should be allowable. You should keep all the paper work associated with the dispute just in case the Taxman asks about the legal fees in future.
Q. My business recently bought an e-book reader from an online retailer. It will be used for business purposes but the retailer is refusing to provide me with a VAT invoice, saying their products are not provided for business purposes, so VAT invoices are not provided to VAT registered customers. How can I get the VAT invoice I need to claim back the VAT charged to my business?
A. If the customer (you) asks for a VAT invoice the supplier must provide one, but in practice you can't force the retailer to comply with the VAT law. As long as you have documentary evidence that VAT was charged - the amount and rate - and evidence that you have tried to obtain a VAT invoice, you can reclaim the VAT charged in your VAT return.
The information contained in this article is of a general nature and no assurance of accuracy can be given. In addition the information provided may be out of date. It is not a substitute for specific professional advice in your own circumstances. No action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a consequence of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.
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