Tax victory for itinerant tunnel worker

Posted: 18th June 2014

HMRCIn an encouraging ruling for itinerant workers, a tunnelling expert whose hazardous job took him from project to project around the country has saved himself more than £14,000 after convincing the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) that his travelling expenses and accommodation costs were tax deductible.

Over a three-year period, the man’s job had taken him from one end of the country to the other, working on a series of major underground projects. Whilst working in the South East, he had lived in digs in London and travelled to his home in Liverpool to be with his wife and young children at weekends.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) refused to take his accommodation and travelling costs into account when assessing his Income Tax liabilities. However, in upholding his challenge to that ruling, the FTT found that the relevant expenses were fully deductible by virtue of Section 338 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003.

The man’s involvement in any one project had never extended beyond two years and the FTT noted that those who worked in the industry did not enjoy the security of continuous employment and could be laid off at short notice. In those circumstances, he had not enjoyed a ‘permanent workplace’ and the travelling and accommodation costs were necessarily incurred to enable him to do his job.