Which Business Expenses Can Reduce Tax Liability in Ireland?

Whether you are a sole trader or an SME, knowing which Business Expenses can reduce your business tax liability in Ireland is vital.


The Irish tax system is quite complicated which is why you require help from accountants sometimes to negotiate it. Under the Irish taxation system, there are certain expenses within your business which are allowable and some which aren’t.


The difference between a Business and Personal expense


As a director of a company you are allowed to claim expenses either directly from the company’s business bank account or have it reimbursed at a later stage. That is why it is important to keep a precise record any time the company reimburses you. An example might be somebody buying coffee for the office canteen. They are entitled to be reimbursed for that product because it has come out of their personal money and not out of company money.


A personal expense is one that is for an individual. These expenses generally cannot be claimed as a business expense. An example of this would be buying yourself a Starbucks coffee because you don’t like the taste of the one in the canteen. This type of expense is not reimbursable by the company.


If you run a small business, your employees can also claim expenses, so it’s good practice to have a company expense form.


Revenue (  are very clear on which expenses  can be  treated as ‘allowable expenses’.


These expenses can help reduce your tax liability whether undertaken as a sole trader or limited company. 


As we said at the outset, Irish tax law is complicated so if you would like further advise on your specific situation contact us today for a free consultation.


You can deduct the actual business expenses you or your company paid in the operation of the business when filing your tax return. However, the expenses you can deduct are limited to the costs of running your business for a particular period of time.


What Business Expenses you can deduct from your income


Because the expenses area is so vast depending on what industry your business is in below is a broad outline of what is allowed and what is not allowed as business expenses.


Getting clear on what you can and can’t deduct


You can claim expenses for travel and meals for employees travelling to or from the workplace and in their own homes if they are now working from home since the pandemic.


Buying a new suit to attend a meeting would not be tax deductible while if you are in a specialist job like a diver or miner, the workwear you need for those are specialised to that work and therefore would be deductible.


One of the areas that has been historically abused is Client Entertainment and as a result is now one of the most closely examined by Revenue.


Client Entertainment


Most of the client entertainment expenditure is not tax-deductible, you can add it as an expense while preparing your accounts, but when it comes to calculating your Corporation Tax those expenses will be added back and therefore disallowed.


Use of your Home


Since the pandemic, how working from home has been treated has changed vastly.


Directors and employees are allowed to claim for the extra cost of lighting and heating as well as internet provision and/or mobile and landline phone rental.


As a business owners you will need to establish the proportion of household costs used by the business. You will need to work out the percentage of your property which is used for business purposes, what proportion of a utility bill that can be apportioned to business use (e.g. lighting or heating), and for how long each day the service is used for solely business reasons.


Staff Entertainment


Another area that came under the microscope due to the level of abuse. This expenses covers items such as the staff Christmas party or other general moral events within the business. Businesses can also avail of the small benefit exemption in relation to their employees. Each employee can receive up to €500 tax fee in the form of a voucher once a year and the business is allowed claim this as an allowable expenses. 


Telephone Costs


If you have an exclusive broadband/mobile line for your business, the whole amount is allowable, and you will not be taxed personally.


If you make a claim for business only calls made on your personal mobile or landline phone bill, this is an allowable expense provided you can prove it was a business call. You can also reclaim the VAT element of the business calls (if you’re VAT registered), but you won’t be able to reclaim any part of the line rental, as you would incur this cost anyway.


Business Mileage Expenses:


If you’ve used your personal car or van to get to a temporary place of work and personally paid for the fuel personally, you’re entitled to get this back from your company at an agreed rate.


Additional Allowable Expenses For SMEs


1) Rent – For example, the cost of office rent or production facilities, whether they are shared or exclusive to your company; Office equipment, such as computers or printers; Telephone land lines; Office furniture, such as chairs and desks; or any other equipment used in connection with the business such as computers.


2) Office utensils – The cost of computer software and utensils  as internet access, e-mail software, word processing software or database systems used by the business.


3) Supplies consumed by your business – including paper products (for example envelopes), toiletries (for example soap), stationery (for example pens), cleaning products etc.


How To Claim A Business Expenses


  • Sole Traders claim expenses through a Form 11. The deadline for this return is the 31st of October. If you use ROS to pay and file your return, there is an extension until mid-November. Check out our Revenue’s Guide for Assessment Revenue Guide to Assessment dates for more information.


  • Companies claim expenses through a Form CT1.The deadline for this return depends on the accounting period for your company. It is due on the 23rd day of the 9th month after the company’s year-end. 


Records must be stored manually or electronically but we recommend all of our clients retain the electronic version for bookkeeping purposes and to save on storing a huge amount of paper.


If you need specific advice about what to do ahead of your tax deadline, aperio is a Cork-based outsourced accounting and consulting company that can take care of all your bookkeeping, management accounting, financial compliance, and financial project work such as grant applications.


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Do you need help with outsourced bookkeeping? Since 2013, aperio has been helping business owners take control of their finances and build profitable, sustainable businesses.


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