March 22nd, 2017

Tax Question of the Week – Medical Costs


I’m a self-employed cellist. I suffer from back pain which is made worse by long periods of sitting still, particularly during concert performances, so I pay for regular visits to a chiropractor. Are the costs of treatment deductible from income for tax purposes?



The Courts were asked to consider a similar case of a professional guitarist who paid to have medical treatment on a finger injury which was preventing him from playing. His costs were found not to be allowable because he also played the guitar as a hobby so there was “duality of purpose” and he failed the “wholly and exclusively” test.

It seems likely you would also fail the wholly and exclusively test since, presumably, one of the purposes of paying for the treatment is to enable you to enjoy other non-business sedentary activities.

There is a further case regarding a stunt man which gave a different view.  He paid for the cost of a private operation on his knee.  In his case the cost of the operation was held to be wholly and exclusively for the purposes of his trade because it was not essential to his private life. He could have waited and had the operation under the NHS but it was essential to his trade to have the operation quickly. He couldn’t perform with a bad knee.


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John manages a wide portfolio of owner managed businesses and oversees the smooth operation of the firm’s payroll department.

After obtaining his degree in mathematics from the University of Liverpool, John joined Jonathan Ford & Co in 2004 and qualified as a chartered accountant four years later. John likes to keep abreast of developments in tax and accounting and is responsible for the mentoring of junior staff.

Outside of work, John enjoys keeping fit and is a Liverpool FC season ticket holder.

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