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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Tax treatment of teachers, lecturers and tutors: Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals guidance: university lecturers: fees and expenses: travelling and subsistence expenses

“10. Travelling and subsistence expenses

[Note: see EIM70700 for changes in the law since this was published.]

When lecture fees are taxable under the Schedule E rules, any reimbursed travelling and subsistence expenses would normally be treated in the same way unless paid in respect of travel undertaken in the performance of the lecturer’s duties. The term “in the performance of” means that the expenses must be incurred in actually carrying out the duties of employment. It is not sufficient that an expense is simply relevant to, or incurred in connection with, the duties of employment, or if the expense is to put the employee in a position to perform his or her duties. So if a university reimburses an employed lecturer for the costs of travelling from home to the university the payment is chargeable to tax. This is because the journey is not in the actual performance of the lecturer’s duties.

What action must the employer take? 

The university, college etc must operate PAYE and pay any NICs which are due.

When is travel in the performance of the lecturer’s duties?

Necessary travel from one place of work to another for the same employer is in the performance of the lecturer’s duties, but not travel from home to any of those places. So, for example, if a lecturer has a single employment requiring teaching at various centres, and the expenses of travelling between the centres are reimbursed, the travelling would normally be in the performance of the duties and the reimbursed expenses deductible. If a lecturer is in any doubt about this he or she should check with his or her tax office.

What about travel from one place of work for one employer to the place of work for another employer?

Reimbursed travelling expenses for journeys between places of work of different employers are taxable and PAYE should be operated because the travelling is not in the performance of the duties of the employment.”