HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Travel expenses: travel for necessary attendance: definitions: temporary workplace: limited duration, the 24 month rule

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Section 339(5) and (6) ITEPA 2003

As explained in EIM32075, a workplace that an employee attends for the purpose of performing a task of limited duration or for some other temporary purpose is a temporary workplace. But there is a further rule that prevents a workplace from being a temporary workplace where an employee attends it in the course of a period of continuous work that lasts, or is likely to last, more than 24 months. Where this further rule applies the workplace will be a permanent workplace. This rule does not apply unless the workplace is capable of being a temporary workplace as defined by S339(3) ITEPA 2003.

A period of continuous work is defined by Section 339(6) ITEPA 2003 as a period over which the duties of the employment are performed to a significant extent at that place. To apply this rule you should treat duties as performed to a significant extent at any workplace if the employee spends 40% or more of his or her working time at that place. The effect of this rule is illustrated by examples beginning with example EIM32086. The effect of this rule for part-time workers is illustrated by example EIM32092. Breaks in attendance are considered at EIM32105.

The test is whether the employee has spent, or is likely to spend, 40% or more of his or her working time at that particular workplace over a period that lasts, or is likely to last, more than 24 months. Where that is the case the workplace is not a temporary workplace and so it is a permanent workplace. Travel between that place and home will be ordinary commuting and so is not deductible.

This rule is modified where the employee works at a succession of workplaces but the change of workplace has no substantial effect on the employee’s journey to work. All such workplaces are treated as the same workplace for the purpose of the legislation, see EIM32280and example EIM32089.

The legislation is written in terms of the length of time that it is reasonable to assume, or is likely, that the employee will spend at that workplace. The effect of the rule is not altered where the expectation does not match the outcome, see example EIM32083. The effect of the rule can be altered when there is a change of expectation, see example EIM32084. EIM32100 contains advice on how to find out what expectation the employee may have.

Remember that the 40%/24 month rule is only a rule that treats workplaces that would otherwise be temporary workplaces as permanent workplaces. It does not apply to a workplace that is not a temporary workplace because it does not meet the definition in EIM32075. This is illustrated by example EIM32087. Even though the employee in that example works in Dolgellau for only 20% of her time it is not a temporary workplace because she does not work there for a limited duration or for a temporary purpose.

When considering whether a workplace is a temporary workplace, you should also consider the other tests listed at EIM32075