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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Travel expenses: travel for necessary attendance: safeguards against abuse: changes to a workplace

Section 339(7) ITEPA 2003

An employee may change his or her workplace without that change having any substantial effect on his or her journey to work. If a change of workplace does not have any substantial effect on the employee’s journey, or the expense of that journey, the change is ignored for the purposes of

  • the 24 month rule (see EIM32100) and
  • the fixed term appointment rule (see EIM32125).

The two workplaces are treated as a single workplace. So if an employee changes his workplace from Cardiff to Edinburgh that change would be recognised, while if the change is only to the office next door it would not be recognised.

The effect of this rule may be, for example, that two temporary workplaces are treated as a single permanent workplace. There will then be no deduction for the cost of travelling between the employee’s home and either workplace because it will be treated as ordinary commuting.

Sometimes it may be difficult to decide whether a change of workplace should be recognised. The basic principle is that a change in the location or the boundaries of a workplace will be recognised as a change of workplace where the change has a substantial effect on:

  • the journey an employee has to make to get to work and, in particular,
  • the cost of that journey.

In practice you should recognise the change of workplace in all cases except where the change has made no significant difference to the commuting journey.

Where these conditions are met the new location is a new workplace even if it is close to the old workplace. The practical application of this rule is examined in examples EIM32281, EIM32282 and EIM32283.