Q&A – August 2023

August 7th 2023

GDPR – What information do you hold on me?
Q. If an employee wants to make a subject access request, must it be given in a particular format?

A. The UK GDPR does not set out any formal requirements or suggestions for a valid subject access request. This means that a subject access request can be made to you verbally or in writing, and it does not have to be directed to a specific person or contact point. It’s also important to remember that a subject access request doesn’t have to specifically include the words “subject access request” or refer to rights of access under the UK GDPR. The employee only needs to be clear that they are requesting their own personal information, e.g. by asking: “What information do you hold on me?” or “Please send me a copy of my personnel file”.

Input tax claim on purchase of dining room table?
Q. My sole trader business as a management consultant is VAT registered and I work from home most of the time. I have purchased an expensive dining room table which gives me plenty of space to work and wondered if I can claim input tax on this expense? The only other use of the table is for eating an evening meal with my husband.

A. The VAT legislation is different to direct tax where the “wholly and exclusive” test takes priority. The key issue with input tax is to consider if an expense has been partly or fully incurred for the purpose of your business. As a management consultant, you can claim input tax on all your business expenses, i.e. there are no partial exemption challenges.
If the answer is “partly”, as appears to be the case, you can apportion your input tax by using any method that is fair and reasonable. For example, you might consider a method that is based on the typical time split between your time spent working at the table and eating there. So, e.g. if you do 30 hours per week working on average and five hours eating, you could justify an input tax claim of 30/35 of the total VAT paid on your purchase price.