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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Other expenses: books

In certain employments it may be necessary to buy books in order to carry out the duties of the employment. If all of the conditions in EIM31630 are met then a deduction can be given under Section 336 ITEPA 2003 for the cost of the books.

For example, a teacher may be obliged to supply his or her own text books for use in the classroom. EIM70725 explains the circumstances in which the teacher can be given a deduction for the cost of the books.

Where the books are kept by the employee and are expected to have a long useful life you should consider giving capital allowances instead of a deduction under Section 336, see EIM36710. Do not consider capital allowances unless the expected life of the books exceeds 2 years and the cost of the books is significant.

No deduction should be given where the books are purchased to improve the employee’s personal knowledge or to keep him or her up to date with developments in his or her field. The expense must be incurred in carrying out the duties of the employment, not in training or preparing to carry out those duties, see EIM31650.

This approach is supported by remarks made by Rowlatt J in Simpson v Tate (9TC314) to the effect that:

“all taking in of professional literature and all that sort of expense, which enables a man to keep himself fit for what he is doing, are things which can none of them be allowed.”