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Work Related Training and Professional Memberships

Work related training

Work related training can be an effective way to progress your contracting career. When we ask our clients what they like about contracting, the opportunity to learn new things is always one of the top answers so it’s not surprising that many ask about claiming for training costs. You are your company’s most valuable asset, so it makes sense to keep your skills sharp and current.

That said, contractors are responsible for their own training and development, and unless you have a contractual obligation to undergo training, it’s a voluntary cost. For this reason, it’s usually one of the first things to be dropped when times get harder. This is a shame, because it might just give you the competitive edge you need in such moments.

Claiming for training as an expense

So what kind of training can you claim for as an expense? The general rule is that it needs to be relevant to the work you’re doing at the time. For example, if you’re currently taking contracts as a web developer, a course in web design would be relevant and claimable.

However, if you want to take a course in database management to increase the range of contracts you can take, you can’t claim this as an expense because it’s isn’t relevant to the income you’re generating right now. Once you’ve done the course and started working in database management, you can claim for training to update and maintain those skills.

You can claim for You can’t claim for
Training to maintain, update or refresh existing skills that you need for your current trade New skills or qualifications intended for use in future contracts

What you can claim for

Assuming your training qualifies, the cost of your training is an allowable business expense. This also includes the cost of any materials used, any books you had to buy and the cost of travel and subsistence when attending the course.

Professional memberships

Depending on your profession, you might need to be a member of a professional body. Some professionals are required to register with professional bodies or hold a special licence. For others, it can be helpful to belong to a trade body whose activities support your profession.

In most cases you’ll pay a membership, licence fee, or an annual subscription.

If the activities of the body are of benefit to, or concern the profession practiced by, your company, you might be able to claim these costs as an expense. It’s worth noting that you won’t be allowed to claim for a lifetime membership.

Approved professional organisations

Subscriptions and memberships can only be claimed if the body is included in HMRC’s list of approved professional organisations and learned societies.

Be sure to check the list to find out if your professional body is included before claiming, as some professional associations have not been approved by HMRC. For example, membership of freelancer 

trade association IPSE is not tax deductible because they’re not approved by HMRC. This may be surprising to some, but they say they’ve chosen not to become recognised because they would have to send their membership list to HMRC every year.

If you have questions about work related training, professional memberships or expenses claims, or if Orange Genie can help in any way, please contact our expert team on 01296 468483 or email

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