Business owners and expenses

March 05, 2013, 4:20 PM GMT+0

Less than three in ten small business owners claim back all their expenses and only a third feel fully confident they are paying the right amount of tax

Just over a quarter (26%) of small business owners say they reclaim all of the expenses they incur personally for their business, while more than a fifth (21%) claim back half of their expenses or less, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by FreeAgent.

Not placing enough value on expenses is the most common reason for people not claiming them, with more than four in ten (41%) saying that they wouldn’t claim back an expense if they didn’t think it was worth claiming. In addition, 35% of business owners admitted that lost or forgotten receipts were a major reason for them not claiming back all of their expenses, while 13% say they didn’t claim expenses because they are put off by the admin required to do so.

Meanwhile, more than a fifth (22%) are worried that they may claim back the wrong amount and 19% admit they didn’t claim all their expenses because they feared being challenged by HMRC.

Business owners stumped by taxes

Fewer than a third (32%) of businesses feel fully confident that they pay the right amount of tax, while a quarter (25%) think they pay too much tax as a result of not recording expenses properly.

The poll also reveals that nearly three-quarters (73%) of small business owners have wider concerns about their taxes, saying they feel anxious about the current UK tax system.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and founder of FreeAgent, said: “It’s clear that expenses and tax are big issues for people who run small businesses. Nearly three quarters of small business owners admit to feeling anxious about the tax system and many of them are also failing to claim back all of their business expenses. This means they are effectively subsidising their own work, potentially paying too much tax and could be losing thousands of pounds."

FreeAgent provides an award-winning online accounting system designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers

See the full survey results