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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Travel expenses: travel cards

Sections 337 to 339 ITEPA 2003

An employee who buys a travel card will normally be able to use the card for both business journeys and private journeys. Whether or not a deduction is due for all or part of the cost depends on whether an identifiable amount is or was

  • necessarily incurred on travelling in the performance of the employee’s duties (Section 337 – see EIM32350 onwards), or
  • attributable to the employee’s attendance at temporary workplaces (Section 338 – see EIM32000 onwards).

Example 1

Pam commutes daily to a London office, and she buys a travel card because it is the most economical way to pay for her commuting travel. She occasionally uses the card for business journeys within London. No relief is due for the cost of those journeys because they do not involve any expense over and above the cost of Pam’s commuting travel.

Example 2

Mike lives and works in London, and he needs a Zone 1 and 2 travel card for his ordinary commuting journey. However, he buys a Zone 1 to 6 travel card because he often has to visit customers throughout the Greater London area. The extra cost of the Zone 1 to 6 travel card (that is, the difference between the cost of the Zone 1 to 6 card and a Zone 1 and 2 card) qualifies for relief under Section 338 because it is attributable to his attendance at a succession of temporary workplaces.

As regards the provision of travel cards for employees by their employers, see EIM16065 onwards.