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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Other expenses: medical expenses

Section 336 ITEPA 2003

No deduction can normally be permitted under Section 336 ITEPA 2003 for surgical, hospital or other medical expenses incurred by an employee. Such expenses will generally not be incurred wholly and exclusively in the performance of the duties of the employment, see EIM31660.

The case law on medical expenses relates to the wholly and exclusively rule that applies for the purpose of computing the taxable profits of a trade. However, the cases can be taken as equally applicable to the similar rule that applies for employment income.

In Norman v Golder (26TC293) a self-employed shorthand writer was refused a deduction for his medical expenses relating to a severe illness, even though the illness was caused by the conditions in which he had to work. The Court held that the expenses had been incurred:

“in part for the advantage and benefit of the taxpayer as a living human being.”

A similar conclusion was reached in Murgatroyd v Evans-Jackson (43TC581).

In very unusual circumstances it may be possible to argue that the personal benefit of the medical expenses was merely incidental to the business purpose, see EIM31664. In these cases a deduction can be given. In Prince v Mapp (46TC169), Pennycuick J gives an example of the circumstances in which a deduction may be given:

“Someone…incurs some injury which is trivial in itself and in respect of which he would never otherwise expend money on medical care but which happens to be of vital importance for the purpose of that particular trade or profession.”

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Where medical expenses are paid for by the employer, see EIM01550.