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Is it possible to claim a COVID-19 test as a legitimate business expense? I will need to travel once restrictions are lifted, and I think I may have had COVID-19 – I would like to get tested as this may make travel easier.
Firstly, there is no specific HMRC guidance on this. Their advice centres around Health Screening / Check-ups and they state:
Health Screening / Check-ups
You can claim the cost of one health assessment and one medical check-up per employee, without attracting a Benefit in Kind (BIK) charge for the employee.
HMRC defines a ‘health-screening assessment’ as one used “to identify employees who might be at particular risk of ill-health.”
A ‘medical check-up’ is defined as “a physical examination of the employee by a health professional for (and only for) determining the employee’s state of health.”
So, if you plan to take a health assessment during the year, it is certainly worth paying for this via your company, as you will not be taxed on the benefit.
I think a COVID-19 test would be a separate issue from a general Health Screening Assessment.
1. One issue would be whether the test is needed wholly for business purposes – if there is imminent business travel planned that would otherwise be in doubt then that should cover it.
2. Also, would the expense be needed for any employee doing the same thing – yes, it sounds like it.
3. Finally, if you are looking at precedents as to whether it is a taxable benefit – I think it is safe to say that NHS and care workers who have been tested at work are not being subject to tax on it. I think there would be a bit of uproar if they were! I would therefore not expect it to be a taxable benefit if it passes on 1 and 2.