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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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

Section 337 ITEPA 2003

The other key case dealing with deductions under Section 337 ITEPA 2003 is Pook v Owen (45TC571). Dr Owen was a general practitioner who also had a part-time appointment at a nearby hospital. His duties required him to be available for emergency call-outs from home. He would be contacted by telephone and then took responsibility for the patient as soon as he took the call. The Courts held that he was entitled to a deduction for the cost of travel between home and the hospital while on call-out. This case forms the basis for the guidance at EIM32386 .

The reason for the decision is not easy to follow from the judgements. It is best explained in a comment by Lord Reid in Taylor v Provan at page 605F:

“I am sure that the majority did not intend to decide that in all cases where the employee’s contract requires him to work at home he is entitled to deduct travelling expenses between his home and his other place of work. Plainly that would open the door widely for evasion of the rule. There must be something more. I think that the distinguishing fact in Owen’s case was that there was a part time employment and that it was impossible for the employer to fill the post otherwise than by way of appointing a man with commitments which he would not give up. It was therefore necessary that whoever was appointed should incur travelling expenses.”

Thus it is not enough that there should be a contractual obligation to work from home. It is not enough that there should actually be work at home. What is required is something more; that the nature of the employment itself must necessarily require the employee to live in a particular location.