Deductions - scope of: business or non-business expense
S34(1)(a) Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005, S54(1)(a) Corporation Tax Act 2009
No deduction is allowed for expenditure not incurred wholly and exclusively for trade purposes. It is a question of law whether expenditure is capable of satisfying the test (see CIR v Dowdall O’Mahoney & Co Ltd  33TC259 (see BIM37035) and Boarland v Kramat Pulai Ltd  35TC1 - see BIM37035). But if an expense is capable of satisfying the test, it is a question of fact whether it was incurred solely for business purposes, ie for the purposes of the trade.
Where the issue is one of fact, the decision of the First-tier Tribunal can only be overturned on appeal to the Upper Tribunal if, exceptionally, it can be shown that there was no evidence on which they could reasonably have reached their decision. See Edwards v Bairstow & Harrison  36TC207 for the principle and for the reluctance of the courts to intervene in this context.
For an expense to satisfy the ‘wholly and exclusively’ test, the business purpose must be the sole purpose. Where there is no objective yardstick by which any business element can be distinguished from the non-business element, a non-trade or private purpose precludes deduction from trading profits in full.
|Newsom v Robertson  33TC452||BIM37605|
|Knight v Parry  48TC580||BIM37960|
|Murgatroyd v Evans Jackson  43TC581||BIM37950|
|Prince v Mapp  46TC169||BIM37945|
|Caillebotte v Quinn  50TC222||BIM37660|
|Sargent v Barnes  52TC335||BIM37630|
|Watkis v Ashford, Sparkes & Harward  58TC468||BIM37925|
But see BIM42115 regarding circumstances in which a sum may be apportioned.
An expense incurred for the purposes of the trade may also necessarily involve a benefit to a third party. It is not disallowable under the ‘wholly and exclusively’ test because of the incidental benefit or result provided that it was not part of the purpose in incurring the expense to secure that benefit.
The problem is to distinguish an incidental or unsought benefit, or the furtherance of some non-business objective, from the purpose of the expenditure. For detailed discussion of incidental benefits see BIM37400.