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June Question and Answer Section

Newsletter issue - June 2013.

Q. I have decided to become VAT registered. Can I claim the VAT back on the van I bought two years ago, which I still use for my business?

A. You can reclaim VAT on goods and services purchased before VAT registration, but there are different time limits for goods as opposed to services. The VAT paid on goods held at the date of VAT registration can be reclaimed if they were purchased within four years before the registration date. VAT on services can only be reclaimed if the services were supplied for the on-going business within 6 months before the VAT registration. The van is classed as goods, so you can reclaim the VAT on purchase.

Q. Is it true that my company can purchase a top-end touring bike plus safety gear, for me to use without any restrictions?

A. There are restrictions. For you to receive tax and NI free use of the bike your company must offer the use of bikes to all its employees, but the same quality of bike does not have to be offered to every employee. The bikes should be used mainly for work related journeys, such as getting to work, or travelling between different work sites, but personal use is not prohibited. Safety equipment can be provided by the company with the bikes. However, remember the bikes must remain the property of the company, or be leased directly by the company. There are tax implications if the company gives you the bike outright.

Q. I am a self-employed personal trainer. I pay rent to various local gyms where I train my clients, supply my own uniform and make my own appointments. I have to look the part to get work, so I take body-building supplements. Can I claim the cost of those supplements as a business expense?

A. The supplements are a form of food, and as such it has a dual purpose; to keep you healthy and prepare you to undertake your work. So it is very unlikely that the Taxman would agree that your body-building supplements are tax allowable.