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Umbrella Expenses

Guidance on umbrella contractor expenses

For ease we have now divided our umbrella company contractor expenses guidance into three sections, to ensure you fully understand the expense claim process.


1. Supervision, Direction or Control

Individuals who are subject to supervision, direction or control (SDC), with regards to the manner in which they provide their services, will no longer be able to claim expenses for home to work travel & subsistence. The SDC test will become vital in deciding what expenses you can claim.

Supervision, Direction and Control (SDC) Test
If you are expected to know HOW to do your work and if no-one has the right to tell you HOW to do it then you will probably pass the SDC test. If you are to be told HOW to carry out your work, or if someone has the right to tell you HOW to do it then you will fail the SDC test. This is something we can help you to establish in conjunction with your agency.

If you pass this test and are therefore not subject to SDC then you can claim your travel and subsistence expenses, as well as all other legitimate expenses.

If you fail this test and therefore ARE subject to SDC then you CANNOT claim your travel and subsistence expenses, you will however be able to claim non-travel and subsistence expenses, these include.

  • Training
  • Travel between sites during a working day
  • PPE

2. How can these expenses be processed?

HMRC rules on how expenses can be reimbursed
Allowable mileage (whether home to work or travel between sites) can be reimbursed on a weekly basis and form part of your weekly payment, thereby providing you with the appropriate Tax and NI relief at source.

All other expenses will have to be claimed via a Self-Assessment or P87 at the end of the year (includes subsistence, accommodation, PPE etc). If you wish to claim for items other than mileage (and the claims are allowable under the appropriate rules) we will keep a log of these claims for you and assist with a Self-Assessment return which would generate you the appropriate tax relief at the end of the tax year.

Please therefore ensure you keep all receipts throughout the year as you will need these in case HMRC query your return.

3. Guidance for expense claims

Legislation states that allowable ‘expenses must be incurred wholly and exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your duties’, and this means that all expense claims should be supported by receipts.

Wherever possible, these should be VAT receipts unless the expenses are VAT exempt (e.g. train fares).

To find out more, read our Guide to expenses >


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