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Five ways to reduce your tax bill

With the 31 January tax return deadline fast approaching, The Telegraph has come up with five ways to reduce your tax bill.

The methods are described as 'quirky' and might not be applicable to everyone but the general public might not be aware how some of their expenses could be saving them tax in the end.

The first refers to holders of National Trust memberships. National Trust visits and memberships are often subject to Gift Aid, meaning that taxpayers are entitled to a rebate after giving money to the charity. Higher rate taxpayers can reclaim anything above 20 per cent in tax that they paid on their donation.

The second fact is that self-employed taxpayers or those that work from home on a freelance basis can offset a portion of their utility bills against their tax bills. It includes telephone and broadband bills as well. How much you are eligible to claim depends on how much of your home costs are used for business purposes.

Those who wear a uniform to work are entitled to a rebate on work clothes. The definition of uniform is broad and could be as minimal as a branded T shirt for working in a shop or bar. As long as you are required to wear it for work, buy it, clean it and replace it out of your own pocket, you can claim tax relief. Some occupations such as those in the building trade have an allowance of up to £140.

Subscriptions to trade journals are also able to be offset as a legitimate business expense. This could include anything subscribed to on tablet devices as well as traditional hard copies. Those who are employed by a company will have to prove, however, that it is entirely necessary to have it to carry out their job.

Finally, travel expenses can be claimed if you are self-employed and have to travel from your home to visit clients, customers or suppliers. However, costs for a regular commute cannot be claimed back at all. One off occasions such as car breakdowns are eligible here for the self-employed visiting the aforementioned.

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