There are important differences between associate dentists who are self-employed or company directors.
Company directors have to comply with health and safety at work regulations. Self-employed workers do not.
Self-employed dentists do not get tax relief on their glasses or eye tests
To qualify for a tax deduction expenditure must be WHOLLY and EXCLUSIVELY for work use. This is an overriding principle used in many tax cases over many years.
Glasses warn WHOLLY for work are not EXCLUSIVE for work. To be EXCLUSIVE means they are not suitable for use outside of work.
General glasses suitable for use outside surgery will fail the exclusivity requirement to get a tax deduction.
Company director dentists do get tax relief on their eye tests and glasses for their computer use only
Health and safety laws allow computer screen users a tax deduction specifically for:
- eye tests
- prescription glasses required for ONLY using a computer screen
Glasses for anything other than computer use are not allowed as a tax deduction and are not a tax-free company benefit
- If you need glasses for both screen and general use get two prescriptions. One for computer work only and one for everything else. You pay for the computer use prescription with the company money and pay the difference for none computer use with personal money.
- Glasses required for non-computer use that cost £50 or under may be provided as a trivial benefit paid for directly by the company
- HMRC do have complex rules regarding the repayment of expenses when non-company money is used for purchases. One of these rules applies to the reimbursement of eye tests. These transactions need to be direct with the opticians paid with company money and not claimed back as an expense after using personal none company money. This is not a problem for company directors but, if you are paying for an employee or fellow director or company secretary, there is a work around when. You must in either provide them with a voucher or a letter in advance saying they have permission to have their eyes tested and they will be reimbursed after the test by the company
- If the eye test has been paid for with personal money without the advance written permission from the company. Any reimbursement is classed as earnings and put through the payroll and income tax and national insurance contributions paid. This type of reimbursement isn’t tax-efficient for company owners to make
Specialist dental eyewear
A full tax deduction for all associate dentists (with or without prescription lenses) is available for:
- dental loupes
- toughened protective eyewear when using:
- power tools
- laboratory equipment