EIM32055 - Travel expenses: travel for necessary attendance: definitions: ordinary commuting

Section 338(3) ITEPA 2003

No deduction is due under section 338 ITEPA 2003 for the cost of ordinary commuting. For most employees, ordinary commuting is the journey they make most days between their home and their permanent workplace. However, for some employees the position is more complicated. The term “ordinary commuting” is defined by section 338(3) ITEPA 2003 to mean travel between a permanent workplace and home, or any other place that is not a workplace. Ordinary commuting includes travel that is substantially ordinary commuting, see EIM32300. The case of Kirkwood v Evans (74TC481) confirms that travel between home and a permanent workplace is ordinary commuting even where home is also a workplace.

A workplace is defined by section 339(1) ITEPA 2003 to mean a place at which the employee’s attendance is necessary in the performance of the duties of the employment.

In practical terms this means that there is no deduction for the cost of travel between an employee’s permanent workplace and:

  • an employee’s home (but if the employee is required to work at home, see EIM32170), or
  • any other place the employee visits for reasons that are not related to the employment, or
  • any place at which the employee performs the duties of another employment.

Any journey between an employee’s permanent workplace and home (except where EIM32170 applies), or any other place at which the employee’s attendance is not necessary for the duties of that employment, is ordinary commuting for which no deduction is due.

Any workplace that is a temporary workplace is not a permanent workplace. Travel to a temporary workplace is not ordinary commuting and so the cost is deductible, see EIM32065. Where employees use their own vehicle or bicycle for business travel a deduction is given at statutory mileage rates and not for actual costs, see EIM31240.

This is illustrated by example EIM32056.

Various measures have been introduced to encourage environmentally friendly transport between home and work. The measures include exemptions from tax for:

  • works bus services and subsidies paid to public bus services (see EIM21850) and
  • provision by an employer of bicycles and cycling equipment, see EIM21664