I am self employed and work from home. During 2011/12 I lived with my girlfriend in a rented 2 bedroom flat and used the second bedroom as my office. I used it continuously from 8.30am - 7/8pm most days apart from Sundays with occasional visit to see clients during this time. The room was still setup as a bedroom but had my desk in the corner and was used in the evening/at night by guests when staying over (for in total probably a few weeks a year). I have read all of the guidance and examples as to apportioning the rent/other fixed/variable costs and had a couple of questions if anyone would be so kind:
1) Should i work out the room area based on the number of key rooms (eg 25% due to there being 2 bedrooms and a large sitting room/dining room/kitchen which i'm classing as 2 rooms) or should i do it based on the exact percentage of the floor space relative to the total area of the flat (including kitchens/bathrooms/hallway etc)?
2) There seems to be conflicting information in the HMRC examples as to how much time you should assign to business use vs domestic. I used the room for 10 - 12 hrs a day 5/6 days per week 50 weeks of the year which works out at about 33% of the total time. Is this what should be used (even though it wasn't used continuously for domestic use when not being used for business, ie it was unused at night for example when guests weren't there). Assuming this is correct then i would only be able to claim 25% * 33% = 8.25% of the fixed costs which doesn't seem like a lot given how much i used it!! this also seems at odds with example 6 on this page: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/bim47825.htm where Gordon claims 8/10 of the fixed costs (but the rooms is more tailored to his business).
3) Am i right in thinking that as long as it's a bedroom with a desk in the corner and it is used for domestic purposes sometimes then it wouldn't be liable for business rates (as i definitely don't want to get stung by that!)
Thanks so much,