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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Travel expenses: travel for necessary attendance: fixed term appointments and agency workers: fixed term appointments: site-based workers: likely to hold

Section 339(5) ITEPA 2003

To apply the fixed term appointment rule in Section 339(5) ITEPA 2003 you must be able to take a view about the length of time an employee is likely to hold, or to continue to hold, his or her employment. Where the employee can be expected to be at a workplace for a continuous period of work (see EIM32080) lasting for all or almost all of the period for which they are likely to hold, or continue to hold, the employment, that workplace will be a permanent workplace.

Many site-based employees, particularly in the construction industry, are employed on the basis that they will work at a single site and will be laid off on the completion of work at that site. For those employees the site is a permanent workplace. Many employers in the industry will retain employees on a last in/first out basis and may offer further work first to their long term employees. Therefore even when an employee who has been recruited to work at one site is kept on to work at another site this may not prevent both sites being permanent workplaces. The employer may not have been in a position to hold out the possibility of further work until certain that work would be available on another site.

In practice you may need to draw a distinction between different classes of employee working for the same employer, particularly between long term and short term employees. In each case you should consider the matter objectively, taking into account all available evidence. In some cases you may need to see the contract of employment and to obtain a statement of the employer’s policy.

Even where an employee has worked at more than one workplace in the course of an employment and you are able to accept that each workplace is a temporary workplace you may need to take a different view for the final workplace. If it is likely that the employee will be laid off at the conclusion of work at that workplace then it will be a permanent workplace. It will be the place at which the employee is likely to work for the remaining duration of the employment. For an important exception to this rule, see the final paragraph of EIM32125.

From 6 April 2016, new tax provisions for the treatment of travel and subsistence expenses for workers who personally provide services through ‘employment intermediaries’ apply. The employment intermediaries travel expense provisions mean that each engagement undertaken by a worker who personally provides their services through an employment intermediary will be considered a separate employment for the purposes of travel and subsistence. This will mean that generally no relief will be given for home-to-work travel costs and associated subsistence. Detailed guidance on the employment intermediaries travel expense provisions can be found in the Employment Status Manual at ESM5500.