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Can the surgeon claim tax relief on conference and medical equipment

A friend of mine need to claim back four years of expenses. While claiming on subscriptions is clear.

There seems to be a grey area over international conferences and medical equipment. He is a surgeon working solely for the NHS. He has an appraisal once a year and it is stated in his appraisal that he must attend various conferences to present a paper. While claiming for conferences is restrictive under EIM31950 as the conference needs to be within Section 337 ITEPA 2003 as necessarily incurred in the performance of the duties of the employment. I would argue attending these conferences are mandatory since they are mentioned in his appraisal and secondly he needs to have this knowledge to carry out his duties hence he should get tax relief. The NHS has not reimbursed any expenditure for air, hotel, travel or subsistence in relation to the conferences he has attended

On capital items he has purchased a very expensive goggles for pound £1700 and headlights for pound £500. The head surgeon mentioned to him via email that the goggles are required to perform his duties. The head lights were less important. Can he claim tax relief for international conferences and medical equipment. I do not think he would be entitled to capital allowances ?

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Strange

It does seem strange that he is 'required' to attend conferences and present papers but neither his employers nor the conference organisers are willing to meet his expenses.  It immediately throws doubt on 'wholly/exclusively/necessarily' I think.

Quite frequently when digging deeper into this type of expense, the venues of the conferences turn out to be desirable places to visit.  Let's say Bermuda rather than Blackburn (no offense to residents of either location).  I seem to recall one fine body of professionals organising a series of seminars that happened to duplicate the intinerary of an England cricket tour.

The goggles and headlights are slightly different, but the questions still need to be asked: 'Can our man (woman) do the job to the standard required without these accessories?'  'Do colleagues in fact manage without them?'.  Neither question is decisive, but if the answer to both is 'YES' then claiming the expense could be an uphill task.

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Why...

... do you think that capital allowances can't be claimed on the surgical loupes and headlights?

An employment is a qualifying activity for capital allowances purposes and provided the equipment is necessary for use in the employment (and as rule of thumb, I never allow blind surgeons to cut me open), an annual investment allowance can be claimed.

I don't think you've got a chance with the conferences, they fall in the same camp as training, and you would need to get it within the Bannerjee decision, that attending and presenting at the conference was a duty of the employment.

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Capital allowances on loupes and headlights

Agreed but I dont think individuals can claim capital allowances.

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Eh?

Since only individuals can be employees, what other employees is it that are entitled to claim capital allowances then? See CA23070.

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