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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Travel expenses: travel for necessary attendance: introduction

Sections 338 and 339 ITEPA 2003

Since 6 April 1998 employees have been able to obtain tax relief for travel for necessary attendance at certain workplaces in addition to the existing relief for travel in the performance of the duties of the employment (see EIM32350 onwards). This additional tax relief can be found in Sections 338 and 339 ITEPA 2003 and it is described in this Chapter.

Equivalent rules also apply for National Insurance contributions, see NIM06250.

Section 338 applies to expenses that are attributable to the employee’s necessary attendance at a workplace in the performance of the duties of the employment, but excluding expenses of ordinary commuting or private travel. These phrases are then subject to a series of statutory definitions of which the most important are:

  • necessary attendance, see EIM32270
  • ordinary commuting, see EIM32055
  • private travel, see EIM32180
  • permanent workplace, see EIM32065
  • temporary workplace, see EIM32075.

If the workplace is capable of being a temporary workplace, there is a further set of statutory tests:

  • the 24 month rule, see EIM32080
  • the fixed term appointment rule, see EIM32125
  • the depots and bases rule, see EIM32160
  • the area rule, see EIM32190

The purpose of this legislation is to permit tax relief for the costs of travel between an employee’s home and a place that they must attend for work purposes, but excluding costs that are for ordinary commuting and private travel. Further changes have since been made that affect the amount of relief to which employees who use their own vehicle or bicycle for business travel are entitled. The changes are summarised at EIM31625.