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HMRC internal manual

Business Income Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Specific deductions: administration: business archives

Background

Many firms maintain records that show the history of the firm and its activities. They may also provide public access to them.

Firms are being encouraged to improve public access to any historic records that they hold. This has led to requests for guidance on the treatment of costs incurred on the care and conservation of business archives, of providing access to them and of educational service based upon them.

Maintenance

The costs incurred in maintaining historic archives will generally be allowable expenses in arriving at the profits of a trade.

The exceptions are:

  • capital expenditure (although this may qualify for capital allowances),
  • any expenditure not made wholly and exclusively for business purposes, or
  • expenditure which is specifically disallowed (such as any entertaining expenditure - see BIM45000 onwards).

Access & education

Firms who provide access to their archives and linked educational services generally do so in order to obtain the commercial benefit of bringing their name, products or services to public attention. That is no less a legitimate expense wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade than, for example, advertising.

It follows that generally speaking expenditure on the provision of access to archives and on linked educational services by a firm is allowable against trading income.

The main exceptions are:

  • capital expenditure (although this may qualify for capital allowances),
  • expenditure not made wholly and exclusively for business purposes - for example, in exceptional circumstances where the archive is more in the nature of a personal hobby,
  • expenditure which is specifically disallowed (such as any entertaining expenditure - see BIM45000 onwards).