Can you Claim Glasses as a Business Expense in the UK?
If you work for a company and have to spend a lot of time looking at a screen, then you may be eligible for receiving help towards the cost of glasses and eye tests. These costs will usually be met by the employer. However, different rules apply to those who are self-employed. Rather than the cost being met by the company, it would have to be claimed as a business expense.
For most people who are self-employed, glasses would not be classed as a business expense. This is because when you are self-employed there is no legal requirement to follow health and safety guidelines. One of the main issues that you would face in trying to claim is proving that glasses are only used for business purposes. If you wear them for reading or driving in your day to day life, then you would not be able to claim them as a business expense. As most people that wear glasses do not just do so for work, this means that claiming for glasses is not something that is often successful.
If you try to claim for glasses as an expense when you are self-employed, then HMRC are likely to ask for proof that you only use them for business purposes. They may not just accept your word on this, so it is a good idea to get evidence collected so it is ready if they ask for it. You will probably be expected to leave the glasses in your place of work rather than take them with you wherever you go.
Director Of A Limited Company
If you have a limited company, then the rules will differ again. This is because the business is considered a separate entity and so it does need to follow Health and Safety regulations. Costs for eye tests can be claimed for directors and employees as a business expense. You will be able to claim if you or your employees spend more than one hour a day in front of a screen on a regular basis.
The amount that you will be able to claim for glasses will depend on how they are used. If they are used entirely for business purposes, then this will need to be proven. However, if you can do this, then you will be able to claim the full cost of the glasses. If you do use them outside of work, then you may be only able to claim for a percentage of the total cost. Any claim that you do make for a business expense, will also become a taxable benefit.
This means that you will need to fill out P11d forms, and class 1a national insurance contributions will need to be paid. This is something you can ask your accountant about if you want advice about these forms and how they should be filled in.
The same rules apply to employees if you want to claim tax relief on glasses and eye tests that you provide for them. Many companies purchase vouchers from opticians and hand them to staff. This makes it easier to keep control of the amounts that are being spent. It is also a way to prove that the money has been spent on glasses.
One important thing to remember if you are a director of a limited company is that it is not your responsibility to arrange eye tests for your employees. If they ask for one, then you should cover the cost, but the onus is on them to determine whether they need a test or not. If the eye test does show that glasses are needed, then you should also meet the cost of these, but you can specify that your only basic lenses and frames are purchased.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible to claim for glasses or eye tests, then you should talk to your accountant. They should have enough knowledge of your circumstances to be able to tell you whether your claim would be accepted. They will also be able to make sure you are claiming in the correct way so that any claim you make is not delayed. They may even be able to complete the paperwork on your behalf.