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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Travel expenses: general: accommodation and subsistence: subsistence costs: examples

Example 1

Chris is required to spend 3 months in 2013/14 working at the site of one of his employer’s clients. He travels to the site each Monday morning, stays in a hotel close to the temporary workplace and travels home late each Friday evening, eating dinner on the way. During the week he takes some of his meals in the hotel and others at a nearby restaurant. The cost of his travel between his home and the site, the accommodation and all the meals are allowable travel expenses.

However if he were to travel home on a Wednesday evening, spend the night at home and take his wife out for a meal no deduction would be permitted for the cost of that meal. This is because the qualifying business journey ceases when he arrives home and re-commences on Thursday morning when he sets off to travel back to the site.

Example 2

Michael is employed as a travelling salesman visiting customers across the UK throughout the day. He travels to his first customer direct from home and travels home directly from his last customer of the day. Each day he purchases and eats lunch whilst travelling between customers.

Michael is travelling in the performance of his duties therefore the costs of his travel both to and from home and between customers together with the cost of his meals incurred whilst en route are allowable under section 337.

Example 3

James is employed as a travelling salesman visiting customers across the UK throughout the day. Each day he travels from his home to his office and from there travels to visit his customers. He returns to the office after visiting his last customer before travelling home.

The cost of travel between James’ home and office and any associated subsistence costs incurred on those journeys are not allowable as this is ordinary commuting. However the cost of travel and subsistence incurred by James after he leaves the office on his way to his first customer, and the costs incurred in travelling between customers and in returning to the office are all allowable under section 337 as they are incurred in the performance of the duties.

Example 4

Helen is a financial adviser who works 2 ½ days a week at her employer’s office in Reading and 2 ½ days a week at their Oxford office. She travel directly from home to both offices apart from the day when she works half a day in Oxford and half a day in Reading. On those days she travels from home to Oxford and then from Oxford to Reading. She travels home directly from Reading.

Helen does not attend the Oxford or Reading offices for tasks of limited duration or any other temporary purpose. She is not entitled to claim relief for any of her home to office travel; as she has two permanent workplaces this is all classed as ‘ordinary commuting’.

She is however entitled to relief for the cost of travel between Oxford and Reading by virtue of section 337 as this is travel in the performance of the duties. The qualifying business journey commences when she leaves the Oxford office and ceases when she arrives at the Reading office. She is not entitled to relief for the costs of staying overnight at Oxford or Reading because they are permanent workplaces.