Can I claim physio as a business expense? Is it tax deductible?

Can I claim physio as a business expense

UK small business owners may be curious to know if they can write off physio expenses for tax purposes. The answer is that it depends on the circumstances and the ability to prove that the expenses were solely for the benefit of the business. But in most instances - the answer will be no. 

Wholly and Necessarily

According to UK tax laws, business expenses must be related to the running of the business and generating income - the phrase is "wholly and necessarily" for the purposes of business. These can include necessary equipment, salaries, travel expenses, insurance and legal fees. To be considered a valid expense, it must not have a "duality of purpose" and must be solely for the business.

Duality of purpose means that is has a personal and business purpose. 

Proving that physio expenses fall under the category of "wholly and necessarily" and doesn't have "duality of purpose" can be challenging. The expense must be vital to the business operations, and any personal benefit must be unavoidable. For example, a roofer who requires physio to treat a shoulder injury that affects their ability to work could argue that the personal benefit of healing the shoulder is an unavoidable by-product of getting back to work.

HMRC Court Case

In the famous case of Parsons v HMRC, a stuntman successfully argued that he needed surgery and physiotherapy to get back to work quickly, as he was on a long waiting list for the NHS. However, this is a rare example, and in most cases, it's challenging to argue that physiotherapy expenses have no personal benefit.

For instance, a writer with chronic knee pain who seeks treatment to improve their focus at work would likely struggle to prove that the expense was solely for business purposes.

When considering making a claim, it's crucial to keep detailed records and consult with an accountant. The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will always prefer if the individual can receive free treatment and get back to work, but if that's not possible, the next best option is to prove that private treatment was necessary, but this is likely to be contested in 99% of cases.

In conclusion, claiming physio expenses on taxes can be a difficult task, and it requires a strong argument and proof that the expenses were solely for the benefit of the business and that any personal benefit was unavoidable. Business owners should always consult with an accountant before filing their yearly returns to ensure they are following the correct tax laws.

About the Author

Annette Ferguson 

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certified Profit First Professionals. Helping online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.