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Capital Allowance for Employed Masterchef?(Part 1)

A Typical Practice in the Restaurant Industry? Will HMRC Resist the Employee Capital Allowance Claim

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I have an employed chef client earning P60 income of around £55,000 a year. I have previously claimed the small £60 fixed deduction for the food industry each tax year on his personal tax return. End of.

But during 2018/19 he spent over £1,000 on chef equipment for his new job, This includes:

£250 knives and bag

£100 Springfield chef's coat/jackets

£400 professional waffle maker

£150 low temperature long time (sous-vide) equipment and consumables

£250 heavy duty countertop electric fryer

He wants me to decide how to treat these expenses for employment tax purposes.

I will tackle him about this shortly, but want to know what sort of questions to ask him up front first.

My first issue is, why is his new employer not paying for these expenses (necessary expenses rule).

Second, do chefs at this level traditionally pay for items of plant and machinery, consumables and protective clothing. And where are they stored overnight.

There is a box on the employment pages for capital allowances, so presumably AIAs/WDAs etc can be claimed for the plant & machinery items (which I assume will include the knives) with any adjustments for private use.

But I have never ever seen an employee purchase the consumables (i.e. the vacuum food sealer rolls X metres in length).

Any helpful comments would be appreciated.

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By penelope pitstop
19th Dec 2019 03:34

Just noticed on HMRC website (job expenses) can claim for either:

a) fixed deduction (a small published amount), or
b) repairing or replacing small tools (e.g. scissors or drill) (so that would appear to cover the chef knives)

Can also claim cost of cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing. (Goodness knows how you would quantify the cost of washing powder etc. for the home washing machine without receipts).

BUT you cannot claim relief on the initial cost of buying small tools or clothing for work.

So, the above points may cover the chef knives, chef coats/jackets.

The HMRC website then refers to employees claiming capital allowances on the full cost of substantial equipment in the form of AIA, so that would cover most or all of the £800 chef machinery/equipment.

But this "substantial" expenditure must still be "necessarily" (S336) provided for use in his job. I still wonder why the employer does not provide this equipment.

And what about the sous-vide consumables. Where is this claimed for on the SATR employee pages. Never seen an employee ever claim for consumables before.

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By Roland195
19th Dec 2019 10:34

As you know, with employment cases it's the extra necessarily hurdle that is the most difficult to overcome with our friends at HMRC generally interpreting that as being a contractual requirement (which it is almost invariably not).

I would certainly be claiming for the knives & PPE as this is the prevalent custom in the industry. I stand to be corrected but the £60 Flat Rate is supposed to cover the daily laundering of the chef outfit.

The other items would be more difficult as it sounds like the isn't required for the job, just makes it easier territory which I have never claimed to understand. An
employed joiner could turn up with a hammer and undoubtedly a nail gun would make his job easier but I think it would be clear his employers would be unimpressed.

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By bernard michael
19th Dec 2019 10:08

To go on Masterchef you have to be an expert in cooking the books

Sorry - I had to get rid of that

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By Marion Hayes
29th Dec 2019 09:33

Surely we have all seen employees be reimbursed for consumables - I would think that this is no different just because it is in a kitchen.
Is this happening too? I would check it was not part of an expenses claim.
I would also look at the location of the equipment - you can't cart a sous vide machine around like a set of knives.
Also, does his new job involve any college attendance?

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By gillybean04
06th Jan 2020 19:11

My first question to your client would be whether the employer provides those items. If so, then his expenditure won't be allowable as it wasn't necessarily incurred for business purposes. If the employer doesn't provide any of it then it becomes a question of "would any chef in that job have to incur the same costs".

I'm not convinced a chef coat would qualify as specialist clothing/PPE, they don't serve any physical protective function to prevent injury like gloves, hard hats or steel toe cap boots. Its to protect clothes from stains rather than protecting the wearer from injury.

Also, if it is PPE and status is employed then the employer has an obligation under s4 of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 to make that PPE readily available.

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