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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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Employment income: travelling and subsistence payments: emergency call out: travel between home and normal place of employment

Section 62 ITEPA 2003

Many employees receive payments in respect of travelling expenses between their home and normal place of employment on an emergency call-out.

Such payments are taxable as earnings within Section 62 ITEPA 2003 (see generally EIM00520 onwards), unless all the following conditions are satisfied:

  • the employee gives advice on handling the emergency on receipt of the telephone call and
  • the employee accepts responsibility for those aspects appropriate to his or her duties from that time and
  • the employee has a continuing responsibility for the emergency whilst travelling to their normal place of employment.

The same rules apply when the employee claims an expenses deduction which has not been reimbursed (see EIM32380 to EIM32381).

Where, exceptionally, these conditions are satisfied, home to work mileage allowance payments made in 2002/03 onwards, will fall within the approved mileage allowance payment scheme (see EIM31200 onwards).

Pook v Owen (45TC571)

Taxpayers and their advisers may refer you to the case of Pook v Owen (45TC571). In that case, a GP took up an employment as a part-time hospital doctor. In that employment he was required to be on call for emergencies. He received reimbursements of travelling expenses between his home (which was also the location of his GP surgery) and the hospital. It was held that the reimbursements were not “earnings” because his duties commenced as soon as he received the emergency call. He had to give instructions for the care of the patient until he arrived at the hospital. The inference was that his duties were performed in two places - his home and the hospital. The journeys between the two places were linked so closely to the performance of the duties at those places that they could be regarded as actually made in the performance of those duties.

Pook v Owen was an exceptional case. For example, if the doctor was held up on the road, he had to ring the hospital and make any resulting arrangements (see page 591 of 45TC).

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As regards emergency call-out to a place other than the normal place of employment, see EIM10050.