What is the annual investment allowance?

Definition of the annual investment allowance

The annual investment allowance is a way to claim tax relief on many assets that your business will buy. It’s a kind of capital allowance.

If your business buys a piece of equipment that qualifies for the annual investment allowance, you can deduct 100% of the cost of that asset from your business’s profit before you work out how much tax is due on that profit. You can learn more about what qualifies from HMRC.

The government sets a limit for how much annual investment allowance a business can claim in a year, which means that if you buy assets costing more than the limit, you won’t be able to claim annual investment allowance on all your assets. At the moment the limit is £200,000.

If your business is registered for VAT, you claim the annual investment allowance on the total cost of the asset less any VAT you can reclaim on that asset. If your business is not registered for VAT, you claim the annual investment allowance on the total cost of the asset.

Example of the annual investment allowance:

Lucy is a sole trader and is not registered for VAT. She buys a new computer for her business costing £1,200. Her business’s profits for that year came to £20,000. She can claim annual investment allowance on the cost of the computer, so she will pay tax and class 4 NI on £18,800 (£20,000-£1,200 = £18,800).

Check out FreeAgent's joint webinar with HMRC to find out more about how the annual investment allowance works.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all assets eligible for the annual investment allowance?

No, they’re not. The most common examples of assets that are not eligible for the annual investment allowance are cars and assets that you’ve used for something else before bringing them into your business, for example a family computer. These assets qualify for capital allowances spread out over several years, rather than the full cost at once, which is what the annual investment allowance gives.

Got questions? Ask Emily!

FreeAgent's Chief Accountant Emily Coltman is available to answer your questions in the comments.

Bookkeeping and tax tips

We'll keep your email safe · Read our privacy policy