Your tax questions answered

I use my own car for taking pupils home when sick, travelling to meetings etc. Can I claim tax relief?

As with any occupation, expenses incurred using your own car for work may be allowable as tax relief. The same rules apply to teachers as with all jobs.

Other than travelling to and from work, you can claim the cost of any mileage done on school business, less any amounts paid back to you by your employer. You can do this either by claiming the actual costs, or using Inland Revenue allowable mileage rates. See our Mileage Calculator to work out how much you can claim.

In most cases though, the Local Authority or the school itself will reimburse allowable mileage set rates. If this is the case, it is likely that there is nothing more for you to do as any tax implications will be taken into account for you.

I have purchased a computer to keep records of my pupils and their performance. Can I claim back some tax for the cost?

Unfortunately, no.

In tax rules, it is sometimes possible to claim for the depreciation of items such as computers when they are essential for work. In the case of teachers, this does not usually apply, as secretarial facilities and office equipment will be available in most cases.

H M Revenue & Customs do not consider that providing your own equipment is necessary. Even though doing so may improve your performance, this is not considered sufficient.

The acid test is whether another teacher could do the job without the equipment. If the answer is "Yes", no tax relief is due.

Can I claim for anything for working from home? I am a Department Head at a secondary school, and spend a lot of time marking work and preparing lessons.

Unfortunately, despite the introduction of a standard contract for teachers, with the formal requirement to do the additional work, H M Revenue & Customs do not consider it necessary for teachers to work from home.

In most cases, Revenue internal guidelines allow some leeway if the circumstances warrant it. In this instance though, the instructions are clear that no claim is to be allowed. Recent experience shows this is being rigidly adhered to.

My OFSTED inspection fees are paid directly to the school, so I did not declare them on my Tax Return. The Tax Office says I should pay tax. Are they right?

Although each case should be considered on its own merits, there is a clear principle here. Is the income to be treated as that of the individual or the school? Either way, there is likely to be tax payable, it is just a question of who pays it.
If the contract is with the school, then the school pays the tax.
However, if the contract is with the individual teacher, he or she will have to declare the income and thus pay the tax. This applies even if the fee is then paid over to the school.
Of course, if the latter applies, as it is treated as self employed income, some or all expenses incurred can be off-set against it. This could include travel expenses, overnight accommodation. If a supply teacher is brought in as cover, and the cost is borne by the teacher doing the inspection, it can be claimed as an expense.


Keep up to date with tax news that affects you.

Sign Up


Read more

The Guardian News Article

How to find an accountant to do your tax return

Learn More

We work with

subscribe to our newsletter