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Locum vet - expenses

Can a locum vet claim accommodation expenses?

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I act for a vet who has left his emploment with a veterinary practice and started doing freelance veterinary work. So far he has done 6 weeks at a practice in Scotland, 4 weeks in London and 2 weeks in the South West, staying in bed and breakfast accommodation as he lives in the Midlands.

When he asked at the outset whether he could claim the cost of his accommodation, I said no but I didn't realise at the time that each engagement would be so short. I am now thinking that the accommodation costs are allowable as the work is "itinerant". Do others think I was too hasty in denying relief?

Thanks in advance.

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By gilderda
31st Oct 2017 16:51

Extract from the words of Brightman J, in Horton v Young

"In the majority of cases a self-employed person has what can properly be described as his place of business or base of operations. In the case of the medical practitioner, it is his surgery or his consulting rooms; in the case of the shopkeeper it is his shop; in the case of the barrister it is his chambers, and so on. There are, however, some occupations in which the self-employed person does not have any location which can readily be described as his place of business, but rather a number of places at which from time to time he exercises his trade or profession. It seems to me that there is a fundamental difference between a self-employed person who travels from his home to his shop or his office or his chambers or his consulting rooms in order to earn profits in the exercise of his trade or profession and a self-employed person who travels from his home to a number of different locations for the purely temporary purpose at each such place of there completing a job of work, at the conclusion of which he attends at a different location. I do not think it matters in the latter type of case whether the taxpayer does or does not effectively carry on any trade or professional activities in his own home. The point is that his trade or profession is by its very nature itinerant."

The relevant bit here would seem to be "the purely temporary purpose at each such place of there completing a job of work, at the conclusion of which he attends at a different location". Is he attending these surgeries for a purely temporary purpose? Yes, he's covering for other vets while they go on holiday or whatever else makes them unavailable. At the conclusion does he attend at a different location? Yes, he moves on to another surgery for a purely temporary purpose.

I'd argue strongly that he's itinerant and going wherever the work takes him, rather than choosing to live in one place but with a base of operations somewhere else.

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