A qualified dentist wants to specialise in a particular branch of dentistry and is on a university course to fulfil this. The cost is around £20,000 per annum and lasts three years, during which time they continue to work part-time. Is this cost deductible, and if so, is it deductible now or when earnings arise as a result of completing the further education course?
Arthur Weller replies:
If you look at HMRC’s Business Income manual at www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/business-income-manual/bim35660
, you can see that HMRC's opinion is that where the training/education merely updates existing expertise or knowledge then it is allowable, but if it provides new expertise or knowledge then it is not allowable because it is considered to be capital expenditure. See there that 'the line between the two may often be difficult to draw'.
This question was first printed in Business Tax Insider in April 2019.