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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Other expenses: home: working from home: substantive duties

Sections 336 ITEPA 2003

Substantive duties are the duties that an employee has to carry out and that represent all or part of the central duties of the employment. The Courts have tended to take a restrictive approach in defining the duties of the employment, see EIM31650.

The case of Miners v Atkinson (68TC629) illustrates the point, see EIM32380. Mr Miners was the director of his own “one man” service company. The work he did at home is listed on page 632 in paragraph 11 of the stated case.

“Mr Miners did some work on his papers in the evenings at the flat during the week, most of his duties as director of WCLA [his service company]…were carried out at Flitwick [his home address].”

Although Mr Miners did some work at home the work he did was not part of the substantive duties of his employment. In these cases a distinction should be drawn between:

  • the duties required by the individual’s office as a director and other minor clerical or administrative work and
  • the duties performed for the client that earn money for the service company.

Only the second class of duties should be regarded as substantive duties. If the work carried out at home all falls into the first category no deduction should be permitted.

With other employments the central duties of the employment should be accepted as substantive duties. In many cases it will be possible to demonstrate that any work carried out at home is preparatory and is not part of the duties of the employment at all, see Example 1 at EIM32790.

There is further advice about service companies at EIM32800.