A self employed doctor recently lost his case at the Upper Tribunal over mileage claims between his home office and other places of business:  But what does this mean for you if you are self employed and have an office at home?

The answer will depend on whether you provide your services at other locations, other than your home, on a regular basis.

Dr Samadian (S) was a full time employee, working for two NHS hospitals, as well as being a self employed consultant at two private hospitals and having a home office.

S had included a 65% business mileage claim on his tax return, although he had not maintained a mileage log.  When asked to back this up with a schedule of his typical weekly journeys, the schedule included regular journeys between the NHS and private hospitals, as well as between his home office and the private hospitals.

The Upper Tribunal concluded that the travel between the NHS and private hospitals was not allowable as the journey was not necessitated by S’s self employment.

Further, the Tribunal also held that travel between the home office and the private hospitals was also not allowable as it had a dual purpose.  That is to say, the journeys were to allow S to leave/return to his home which is consistent with the decision in Newsom vs Robertson [1952] 33 TC452 where a barrister was unable to claim for the cost of travelling between his chambers and home office.

The Tribunal did however agree that S’s travel to and from his home to places where his work was carried out on an irregular basis, e.g. a patient’s home, was allowable.

Regular Pattern

Therefore, whether travel from home is wholly and exclusively for business purposes will depend on whether you are attending another work place on a regular and predictable basis to deliver your services, in which case the travel is unlikely to be qualifying business travel.

Conversely, if you are travelling from home to an irregular or temporary workplace, such as a sub-contractor might do, or if you are visiting customers, the journey is likely to be allowable.

In either case, it is highly recommended that you maintain a complete mileage log of all journeys undertaken to support any percentage being claimed.  Full details should be included identifying the length of journey, date and purpose of the journey.

Maintaining a mileage log in this way will also help prevent HMRC seeking a broad-brush adjustment for earlier years as well as helping towards mitigating penalties.

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