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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

The general rule for employees: expenses: each and every holder: Ricketts v Colquhoun

The restriction of deductions under section 336 ITEPA 2003 to those that each and every holder of the employment would have to incur is clearly expressed in the judgement of Lord Blanesburgh in Ricketts v Colquhoun (10TC118) on page 135:

“The language of the rule points to the expenses with which it is concerned asbeing confined to those which each and every occupant of the particular office is necessarily obliged to incur in the performance of its duties, to expenses imposed upon each holder ‘ex necessitate’ of his office, and to such expenses only. It says:- ‘if theholder of an office’ - the words be it observed are not ‘if any holder of an office’……the terms employed are strictly, and, I cannot doubt, purposely, not personal but objective. The deductible expenses do not extend to those which the holder has to incur mainly, and, it may be, only because of circumstances in relation to his office which are personal to himself or are the result of his own volition.”

In this extract Lord Blanesburgh was considering the nature of the expense incurred. A barrister living in London wanted to deduct his travelling expenses to Portsmouth where he held the office of Recorder. It could not be said that each and every person who held that office would have to travel to perform its duties. Therefore the deduction was denied.

The phrase “the holder of an office” in section 198(1) ICTA 1988 was replaced in 2003 by language in section 336 ITEPA 2003 that makes it clear that the employee must incur the expense as holder of the employment. The terms employed remain objective rather than personal and the same limitation continues to apply.