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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Tax treatment of teachers and academics: claims for capital allowances on computers, word-processors and similar items

Section 36 CAA 2001

The guidance on claims for capital allowances by employees at EIM36500 onwards applies to teachers and academics as it does to all other employees. The paragraphs which follow amplify but do not replace that guidance. In cases of doubt or difficulty, refer to EIM36500 onwards as well as the following paragraphs.

Virtually all teachers and lecturers have access to stationery, and to duplicating and appropriate secretarial facilities, provided by their employer. Consequently the purchase by individuals of their own equipment to store, print or reproduce items such as class records, resource material or lesson notes is unlikely to meet the conditions set out at EIM36540. Although a teacher may feel that the school or college facilities are inadequate, and that possession of their own equipment makes them more effective in their job, the critical question is whether another teacher could carry out the duties (in the sense of fulfilling the contractual requirements) with what the employer provides.

The position is somewhat different where the teacher or lecturer concerned is under a contractual obligation to undertake academic research at degree level or above. In such cases the academic frequently has not only a degree of choice as to the subject of the research but also as to the way in which it is pursued (see the penultimate paragraph of EIM36550). His or her employer is much less likely to make provision for secretarial or other assistance in carrying out the research and, where the onus is on the employee to supply what is needed, capital allowances may be given in the following circumstances:

  • where the equipment purchased merely fulfils tasks previously carried out by more laborious means (for example, storage of information previously held on index cards), or
  • where the research itself intrinsically requires the equipment (for example computer analysis of statistics).

If, in addition to its use in connection with research, the equipment is also used in connection with teaching duties or for private purposes, the allowance due may be apportioned (see EIM36570).