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Employment Income Manual

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Travel expenses: travel in the performance of the duties: travel to and from home where it is a place of work: Taylor v Provan

Section 337 ITEPA 2003

The case of Taylor v Provan (49TC579) illustrates how difficult it can be for an employee to obtain a deduction under Section 337 ITEPA 2003 for the expenses of travelling between their home and another workplace.

Mr Taylor lived in Canada and was agreed to have unique and unrivalled knowledge and experience of arranging mergers of brewery companies. The terms on which he was employed acknowledged his unique experience and required him to perform his duties as far as he could from his home in Canada. The case concerned a deduction for the costs of travel from his home to other workplaces, costs that the Courts in Ricketts v Colquhoun had held to be not deductible as a general rule, see EIM31641.

In Taylor v Provan the Courts held that this general rule applies where the employee has to do part of his or her work at home. Lord Reid commented at page 605E:

“If the holder of an office or employment has to do part of his work at home the place where he resides is generally still his personal choice. If he could do his home work equally well wherever he lived then I do not see how the mere fact that his home is also a place of work can justify a departure from the Ricketts ratio.”

However, the Courts felt that an exception could be made in the very unusual circumstances of Mr Taylor’s case. Lord Morris commented at page 609D:

“The office or the employment was very special. There was probably no-one else who could have filled it. It was an office created to be held by one particular person.”

In effect, the view of the Courts was that Mr Taylor’s location was an integral, unavoidable and accepted element in determining the nature of the office or employment that he held. Mr Taylor was uniquely qualified to fill that post and his personal circumstances were central to the terms of his employment. Very few employees will be in a similar position.