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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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The general rule for employees’ expenses: each and every holder: the nature of the expense not the amount

The restriction of deductions under the general rule for employees’ expenses inSection 336 ITEPA 2003 to those expenses that each and every holder of an employment wouldhave to incur relates to the nature of the expense and not to the amount.For example, if an employee needs to travel in the performance of his or her duties youcannot deny a deduction for rail travel because the journey could have been made morecheaply by bus.

This is supported by a comment of Lord Wilberforce in Pook v Owen (45TC571) on page596. He said that the rule:

“is drafted in an objective form so as to distinguish between expenses which arisefrom the nature of the office and those which arise from the personal choice of thetaxpayer. But this does not mean that no expenses can ever be deductible unless preciselythose expenses must necessarily be incurred by each and every office holder. The objectivecharacter of the deductions allowed relates to their nature, not to their amount.”