If you are employed

It is well established through legal cases that employees cannot claim the cost of travel between home and their normal place of work. H M Revenue & Customs consider this cost merely puts the employee in a position to perform their duties. The definition of employee in the examples that follow includes salaried directors of private limited companies.

However, there are a number of important exceptions to this general principle, that home to work travel costs cannot be claimed:-

Automobiles, or
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  • Travel costs from home to a temporary workplace can be claimed – a temporary workplace can be a place of continuous work for up to 24 months, if this period is likely to be exceeded from the start, then the workplace would be considered permanent from the start and no relief would be due. (Note: If it isn’t known that the contract will exceed 24 months, then relief will be due up to the 24 month point, or up to the point when it is known that the 24 months will be exceeded if earlier.) A temporary workplace is one where less than 40% of working time is spent; if this is the case, the 24 month rule doesn’t apply and relief will be available in full.
  • Travel between two places of work required by the same employer.
  • Travel to attend an appointment required by an employer. This cost is allowed even if the journey starts at home.
  • Travel between home and work where home is a workplace and the location of home is dictated by the requirements of the job.

If you are self-employed

Many self-employed business people have set up their businesses to run from their home address. If you are self-employed you can claim for any travel expense which is required by your trade as long as the business element can be separated from any private element. For instance you may use your car for a trip into town to bank your business cheques and call at the supermarket on the way home.

To meet the HM Revenue & Custom’s requirement of reasonable care in apportioning such costs, you must keep appropriate records. For car users this would normally be a written log of business miles and a record of the vehicles recorded mileage at the beginning and end of each trading year. In this way an accurate assessment of average business use can be calculated and applied to total running costs.

And don’t forget, if you run your business through a limited company you are not self-employed. The comments in the first section of this article would apply to your business.