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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 everyholder of the employment would have to incur is clearly expressed in the judgement of LordBlanesburgh 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 isnecessarily obliged to incur in the performance of its duties, to expenses imposed uponeach 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 anoffice’……the terms employed are strictly, and, I cannot doubt, purposely, not personalbut objective. The deductible expenses do not extend to those which the holder has toincur mainly, and, it may be, only because of circumstances in relation to his officewhich are personal to himself or are the result of his own volition.”

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

The phrase “the holder of an office” in Section 198(1) ICTA 1988 was replaced in2003 by language in Section 336 ITEPA 2003 that makes it clear that the employee mustincur the expense as holder of the employment. The terms employed remain objective ratherthan personal and the same limitation continues to apply.