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Actor's accomodation expenses

Actor's accomodation expenses

My actor client is appearing in a stage role 200 miles from home and has rented accommodation very close to the theatre for the 7 month duration of the role. I have studied the Tim Healy case and am aware that his claim failed because he rented a 3 bed flat to enable friends and family to stay thus creating a clear duality of purpose.

The complication in my client's case is that she is being accompanied by her husband and very young baby. I am fearful that this will scupper any claim for tax relief on the accommodation costs as presumably, no part of the accommodation is occupied exclusively by her. Do Accountingweb members agree with my interpretation?

I believe that it was also found in the Tim Healy case that the cost of subsistence in a rented flat cannot be claimed unlike the cost of meals in a hotel. This seems entirely logical to me. However, I think the cost of travelling between home and the temporary accommodation is allowable. Again, do members agree? I find this a very difficult area to get my head around and I would welcome any comments.


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08th Mar 2016 09:32

I would agree that you cannot treat the rent as if it were a "hotel" cost but you could perhaps claim an additional "use of home" allowance if she is learning lines, preparing records etc. there.

I would also agree that a claim for subsistence would not be appropriate in these circumstances.

Travel costs will also be difficul to claim as really the flat is going to be the business base for the time the show is on.

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08th Mar 2016 12:18

I agree with the OP's interpretation.

I disagree that the travel costs would be difficult to claim. The locus in quo of a business does not move simply because the current "site" lasts for 7 months. This is par for the course for actors.

It is not mentioned in the Healy decision whether his costs of travelling from Chester to London where allowed, but the suggestion is that his "base" was still considered to be his home, despite being in London for Billy Elliott for 11 months.

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08th Mar 2016 14:21

After the court cases for Dr Samadian and Dr Jones would we not need to look at whether the actor is travelling to the flat on a regular and predictable basis? If the actor is in a play for 7 months they are probably not doing much else for the duration so there is unlikely to be much else by way of travel expenses.

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08th Mar 2016 14:42

White, Jones and Jain, which followed Samadian are all FTT cases, and so are not binding precedents, and Samadian (which has High Court status) can be shown to have abandoned the earlier higher precedents.

The only relevant precedents are Newsom v Robertson and Horton v Young (both Court of Appeal IIRC).

Horton was allowed his expenses because his trips to sites were irregular and unpredictable, but it does not follow from that that journeys that are more regular and predictable are necessarily not allowable. What needs to be disallowed is the cost of allowing the trader to live away from his shop.

Taking the Healy case, the travel expenses that matter are not the costs of travel between digs and the theatre, but between his home ("base") in Chester and his temporary digs in London. Presumably he would travel home if he was not required for any period. In my opinion those cost are allowable, following Horton.

Tim Healy was only not allowed his tax fares between his digs and the theatre though, because he could not produce receipts, and without evidence it might just as easily have been that he walked the mile.

I do not think we as professionals should toe HMRC's line. Obviously the client should be aware of the risks of challenge and the prospects of success given that the tribunals do seem to be increasingly toeing that line.

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14th Mar 2016 13:44

Never give up.


 We should never give up a claim if their is a smidgeon of a chance of success.

 A great deal depends on the terms of her contract.

Also, you do not say whether she will have to maintain her home at the same time, and or the work situation of the husband. Is he going to "Reverse" commute?

Is the husband reimbursing his wife for his share of the accommodation?

 If God forbid the show were to turn out a "lemon"- and close after four performances, would she still be paid for the seven months?

 Many theatricals and or musicians take the route of temporary accommodation rather than staying in hotels.

 You need to take advice from one of  the firms of accountants that specialise in theatricals.

 They will most cetainly have ways of mitigating this situation.

Portia's advice is wise advice.

 Nevertheless this is one of those frequent instances where advice should have been sought before the event, rather than after.






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14th Mar 2016 15:40

Actor's union is generally on the ball regarding all this

The actor's union is generally well versed in the case law regarding all of this ...I haven't dealt with an actor/actress for many years, but back in the 90s the actor's union Equity (I think) used to give out plenty of solid advice to the actors as to what had been agreed with the Revenue regarding all sorts of different travel/accommodation arrangements .... you might find that your client has a dedicated info pack just on this type of thing. Worth checking ... delicately, of course.

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22nd Mar 2016 13:47

Here’s the answer…

Tim Good and Giles Mooney have selected this question to answer in their regular ‘Any Answers Answered’ series on AccountingWEB.

Find out more about actors’ accommodation expenses in this short video clip from the TAXtv hosts.

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22nd Mar 2016 13:59

Actually I think you need to learn when to use the definite article and the indefinite article Robert. What will have been provided is "an" answer; it is not necessarily "the" answer.

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