Capital Allowances

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Capital Allowances

Capital Allowances

Quick Summary of Capital Allowances

Capital allowances is the practice of allowing a company to get tax relief on tangible capital expenditure by allowing it to be expensed against it’s annual pre-tax income.

What is the dictionary definition of Capital Allowances?

Dictionary Definition

capital allowance is the amount of expenditure that a British company may claim against it’s taxable profit as laid out in the Capital Allowances Act. It is regulated by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Full Definition of Capital Allowances

Capital allowance is where a company is able to get tax relief on what is known as tangible capital expenditure by enabling it to expense it against the company’s pre-taxed income. Usually, capital allowances can only be gained on specific items of tangible capital expenditure, the expenditure is normally spread out over a period of years. Capital allowance is a term that is used in Ireland and the UK.

Under the Irish Capital Allowance scheme, you are able to get tax relief on both tangible and intangible assets which can the be expensed against pre-tax income in Ireland. This is part of what makes Ireland so attractive for American companies to operate in, as it has allowed these multi-nationals to pay <3% in corporation tax in Ireland, which in 2015 is exactly what Apple did, this is also known as leprechaun economics.

Capital allowance is not the same as depreciation which is not admissible for tax relief. In the event that capital expenditure is not able to qualify for Capital Allowance, then the company will not be in receipt of tax relief for said expenditure.

Examples of Capital Allowances in a sentence

The company may claim capital allowances when the obligation to pay for the cars has become unconditional.
Businesses are able to claim capital allowances for expenditure on machinery and plants, these can then be taken away from corporation tax on the profits the company has made.
From May, businesses will be able to claim the full purchase price of electric cars against tax under the new capital allowances scheme.

Synonyms For Capital Allowances

capital cost allowance, impairment charges, depreciation, impairments, write-downs

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Capital Allowances. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
January 29, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Capital Allowances. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: January 29, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Capital Allowances. Retrieved January 29, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Capital Allowances are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 8th January, 2020 | 462 Views.