Many of you may remember from your pre-contracting days that your employer offered free eye tests. But, as a contractor, what are you entitled to? 
Legislation – specifically the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 - states that where employees are required to use a computer screen for a significant amount of their day, the employer has a responsibility to protect employees from any associated risk to their eye sight. The provision of free eye tests was one of the key parts of this. 
 
As a contractor, your employer is your Limited Company – and the legislation applies in the same way. 
 
So, yes, you can pay for the cost of your eye test through the company, and it will be treated as an allowance, tax deductible expense. 
What about the cost of glasses and contact lenses? 
 
This is more complicated. 
 
The over-riding rule for claiming business expenses is that they should be “wholly and exclusively for your business and necessarily incurred in the performance of your duties”. 
 
It would be very difficult, in my opinion, to justify that any glasses or contact lenses are used only for business. This has become increasingly difficult with the increase of computers and technology into our home in everyday lives. For this reason, even if the prescription is due to computer use, it would be highly unlikely that you could prove that you did not use a computer and need the glasses at home! 
 
My view: By all means, claim the cost of your eye test, but pay for the glasses and contact lenses personally. 
 
As always - get in touch if you have any queries, and we will be happy to help! 
 
 
Written by: 
 
Nicola J O'Sullivan -  
Effective Accounting 
 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
 
Tagged as: Contractor, Expenses, Health
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