Temporary workplace expense rules

3 mins

If you travel to a temporary workplace and pay some, or all, of your travel costs then you might be entitled to claim those expenses back from HMRC. Check out our handy guide to those HMRC temporary workplace rules and if they apply to you, give our friendly team at DSR Tax Refunds a call on 0330 122 9972 – we sort all of the paperwork out for you so you don’t have to.

How far apart does the temporary workplace need to be to your usual place of work to count as separate workplaces?

According to HMRC rules, if you travel to a temporary workplace for a period of 24 months or less, then you should be entitled to claim those travel expenses back as tax relief. However, as with all things related to HMRC and tax, things aren’t always that simple. If the distance between your usual workplace and your temporary workplace is barely different, HMRC might argue that it doesn’t really count as a different workplace. Similarly, if you have a season ticket which also covers your new temporary workplace then HMRC may argue that you haven’t been left out of pocket and therefore don’t have a valid claim.

The rules state that travel to the new workplace should have a “significant effect” on the journey, and in particular, the cost of that journey. So, to count as a separate workplace, HMRC have to be convinced that there is a significant change to your journey. The real deciding factor for HMRC seems to be the cost involved – whether travel to the new workplace costs you considerably more than your usual journey.

What about the 24-month rule?

As far as HMRC are concerned, for a workplace to be classed as temporary, you need to be there for less than 24 months. Any longer than that, it becomes classed as permanent and any tax relief you can claim stops once those 24 months are over. Unfortunately, if you agree to stay longer than 24 months (even if you haven’t actually been there for 24 months at that point) then that site is immediately classed as a permanent site and any tax relief you are entitled to stops.

However, you may also end up being classed as at a permanent site if you do physically move to a new site but HMRC consider it to be close enough to the original site for it not to count as a new site – maybe the distance or the costs are just too similar. Then it is classed as permanent and your old site isn’t classed as temporary either.

What about season tickets?

Again, the HMRC look at whether there has been a significant effect on the costs to yourself. If you use your season ticket to travel to a temporary workplace then you are entitled to claim tax relief on that expense. However, if you then move to a different temporary workplace that you can still travel to using the same season ticket, you can’t claim that expense again – after all, there hasn’t been any significant financial impact on yourself.

Whatever your travel expenses, you can rest assured that DSR Tax Refunds won’t claim for anything that you are not entitled to. We are experts at getting you your maximum rebate fast but we will never claim above and beyond what you are legally entitled to claim so you never need to worry that we will leave you open to an HMRC enquiry. Call us on 0330 122 9972 and let’s get that money back where it rightfully belongs.

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