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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: safeguards against abuse: journeys treated as ordinary commuting

Section 338(2) ITEPA 2003Sometimes an employee may travel to a temporary workplace without that journey being significantly different from his or her ordinary commuting journey. A journey that is for practical purposes substantially the same as the employee’s ordinary commuting journey is treated as if it were also ordinary commuting. Therefore, no deduction is allowed for the journey, see

EIM32055.

This is intended as a common sense rule that applies where the journey between home and a temporary workplace is broadly the same as the employee’s ordinary commuting journey. In particular, it will deny relief where employees or employers seek to turn an ordinary commuting journey into a business journey to try to get a tax deduction.

Applying this rule will depend on the facts of the particular case and some common cases are illustrated by the examples beginning with example EIM32301. However, you should not try to argue that a journey to or from a temporary workplace is substantially ordinary commuting where the extra distance involved is 10 miles or more each way, see example EIM32306.

A journey to a temporary workplace that takes the employee in a completely different direction to his or her ordinary commuting journey is not substantially ordinary commuting even if the distance is the same. Conversely, a journey that is made in broadly the same direction and is substantially the same length as the ordinary commuting journey is substantially ordinary commuting even if the employee takes a different route. The effect of this rule is illustrated by the examples beginning with example EIM32307.