Claiming Back Tax on Professional fees and Subscriptions
For many UK employees, it is essential to pay professional fees or subscriptions to trade bodies or professional institutes to carry out their jobs. An example of this might be solicitors who must pay for an annual practising certificate from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to practise law.
In other cases, the professional fee or subscription may not be essential to work in the job but may still be helpful to the occupation. An example of this might be the payment of subscription fees to the various accounting and tax professional bodies such as the ACCA. Whilst you can still practise as a tax adviser or accountant without membership of such bodies, the subscription relates to the duties performed in the employment.
UK tax-paying employees are allowed to claim tax relief on their annual professional fees or subscriptions to some HMRC-approved professional organizations. The costs are tax deductible generally where the individual must have a membership to do their job, or it is helpful for their work.
The fees must be paid privately by the employee rather than his or her employer for the cost to be tax-deductible.
You can claim tax relief on:
- professional membership fees, if you must pay the fees to be able to do your job.
- annual subscriptions you pay to approved professional bodies or learned societies if being a member of that body or society is relevant to your job.
You cannot claim tax relief on life membership subscriptions, or for professional membership fees or annual subscriptions you:
- have not paid yourself (for example if your employer has paid for them).
- have paid to professional organizations that are not approved by HMRC.
Your organization can tell you how much tax you’re allowed to claim back.
How much tax could I claim back?
This depends on which professional fee or subscription you have paid as every professional organization on the approved list has its own agreement with HMRC regarding the amount of tax relief members are entitled to for their fees and subscriptions.
Each body, organization, and trade union have independently agreed to a rate with HMRC, so it’s not possible to provide an accurate estimate on how much tax you could claim back but generally speaking, you can claim back 20% of the fee or subscription you have paid.
You can back-date your claim for up to 4 years of professional fees and subscriptions, so can claim back the tax from April 2017.
How can I claim tax relief on professional subscriptions and fees?
If the professional organization or body is on the HMRC’s approved list, then you will be able to offset the subscription or membership fee against your income when it comes to calculating your annual tax bill. In order to be able to claim tax relief, you have to make a claim with HMRC, as it is not given automatically (electable tax break). The tax relief is usually given as an allowance in your PAYE code, which is used by your employer when working out your monthly salary.
If you do a Self-Assessment Tax Return, then you can submit a claim for tax relief on your professional fees and subscriptions within your Tax Return (box 19).
Click on any of the buttons below to start your claim.