Are home to work travel costs ever allowed?

Ordinary commuting between home and work incurs costs: either shoe leather, if you walk, or the cost of transport. For most employees these costs are considered to be personal costs and are not deductible for tax purposes.

This is so even if your employer requests that you attend out of hours, say the weekend. According the HMRC:

If an employee is sometimes required by his employer to attend their permanent workplace outside normal working hours, often at the weekend. This may mean that they incur extra costs on bus fares, meals eaten at their desk and sometimes even the cost of overnight accommodation near their workplace.

No deduction is due for any of these costs because all of the journeys between the employee’s home and their permanent workplace are ordinary commuting... It makes no difference that their employer requires them to make the journeys or that they are made outside their normal working hours.

This rule is expanded by the following example:

A health and safety inspector lives in Leicester and is employed in an office in Nottingham. His office is 500 yards from a bean processing plant that he has to inspect. He travels direct from home to the plant.

Although the plant is a temporary workplace his journey to the plant is substantially the same as his ordinary commuting journey. Therefore, his travel is treated as ordinary commuting and the cost is not deductible.

A journey to a temporary workplace that takes the employee in a completely different direction to his or her ordinary commuting journey is not substantially ordinary commuting even if the distance is the same. Conversely, a journey that is made in broadly the same direction and is substantially the same length as the ordinary commuting journey is substantially ordinary commuting even if the employee takes a different route.

And the above examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Who said tax was uncomplicated? If you are required to make journeys that you consider are not ordinary commuting, and for which you would like to claim the additional costs on your tax return, please call, we can help you decide if your claim is likely to succeed.