Claiming back pre-trading costs

Generally speaking, any business expenditure that you make up to seven years before you actually start trading, is treated for tax purposes as if it was incurred on the first day of trading.

This expenditure includes rent, rates, insurance, wages and other costs that you have had to pay.

You can also claim capital allowances for qualifying assets. Again, they are treated as being made on the first day of trading. However, assets that you have previously owned, that you introduce into your new business, will need to be valued at market value at the same date. These might include your car or personal computer.

Repairs can be a tricky item, as HMRC may want to treat them as improvements to your business property that were incurred to bring them to a working standard prior to commencement of trade. If they succeed in their argument HMRC would not allow a deduction as a revenue expense.

Repairs undertaken before commencement of trade should be allowed if the following three points apply:

1.    The costs are regular maintenance rather than improvements.

2.    The repairs were not incurred to make premises fit for trade.

3.    The price paid for premises was not reduced to account for repairs to be made.

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