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Self-employed sports coach, with 1 client:

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I've had an enquiry from a self-employed fitness coach, who currently works for just 1 client. This question is about base of operations.

 

He works from home, but has to travel 2 or 3 days a week to an office (client's office). He also, travels to various other locations to deliver exercise classes. So his role is split between delivering exercise classes & office work. My understanding is that he wouldn't be able to claim for the travel from home to the office, as this would constitute ordinary travel. He would however, be able to claim for the travel to the other locations he works at.

This client claims, that the other fitness trainers who he works with, claim for the travel from home to the office. He says they have been advised this is allowable by their accountants.  I have looked at HMRC's notes with regards to base of operations (about as clear as mud). 

So what does everything think please- is the travel to the office allowable, or not?  

 

Many Thanks

 

Replies (16)

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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 18:31

o;ug

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By Tax Dragon
29th May 2020 06:58

So it's just as well the OP (hello OP, BTW - how did you hear about this forum?) appears to be looking at the employment income manual, although no reference is given. (FYI OP, it helps us to know what you are looking at if you tell us what you are looking at. Or at least it helps me - others in here seem to have more of a sixth sense about such things.)

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
29th May 2020 08:02

So his 1 client insists that he goes to their office 3 days a week, then tells his which other venues to go to and which exercise classes to teach?

I’m with AA on this ... I’d call him an e’ee. How long has he been employed (I mean engaged) by this ‘client’?

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By Tax Dragon
29th May 2020 08:39

Ah, thanks Atlea. So the OP is looking at the rules in BIM on itinerant traders.

My mistake, OP. As you were.

It's just that your guy is so far from being an itinerant trader (seeing as how he's an employee) that I got confused earlier.

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By Matrix
29th May 2020 08:52

I agree that it looks like an employment relationship but I don’t really understand why it is the accountant’s fault that his client’s client has not put him on the payroll and that colleagues’ accountants are supposedly claiming the journeys.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By frankfx
29th May 2020 09:52

Matrix wrote:

I agree that it looks like an employment relationship but I don’t really understand why it is the accountant’s fault that his client’s client has not put him on the payroll and that colleagues’ accountants are supposedly claiming the journeys.

The new Covid 19 Social distancing rules appear to be causing confusion.

2 metre rule applies even at a family BBQ.

Using the home to use the loo , is subject to stringent cleansing requirements .

Really , at Grandmas?

Even a senior independent consultant can find himself in muddy waters, with 66 million shades of views , without reading the small print in the guidelines.

Now where were we?

Confusion and mis interpretation ( or failure to comply ) on worker status and home as base ?

Self employed or employee?

That is a question for the engaging party, based a molecule of information they may have the worker status wrong.

Self employed and Itinerant working practices or not?

Itinerant, was not that the description applied to the travelling sales rep selling mops and dusters back in the day when Dyson was in nappies?

Just because one is self employed does not make your home the base of operations.

Just ask Miss Daniels , self employed worker at String fellows Night club.

https://library.croneri.co.uk/cch_uk/btc/2018-tc-06640

Her base of operations was found not to be her home, And I bet all the other operatives at String fellows were also caught out.
To their own accountant's shock and horror?

Speak to 3 accountants on the subject, and you may get 3 widely different answers on the same set of FACTS.

Horton V. Young and later cases through to Dr Samadian

https://library.croneri.co.uk/acmag_169874

May assist you delivering the news to your client , that the 50p of tax relief on travel costs is not a slam dunk.

''BUT BUT BUT, the other accountants say it is a slam dunk'' is the riposte from a now well informed and savvy client.

Now where were we?

Cleaning the loo at Grandma's?

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Tax Dragon
29th May 2020 10:14

I agree. But if your view was that the relationship was one of employment, (why) would you not a) self-assess applying the employment tax rules and b) show the income on the employment pages?

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Matrix
29th May 2020 12:05

I have never considered this, isn’t it up to the engager to determine the employment status? What about NI?

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Tax Dragon
29th May 2020 12:29

I don't know the answers. I was just asking the question.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
By mrme89
29th May 2020 13:04

You could certainly do the calculation.

But if reporting as self employed worked out better for my client, I’d go with that given that if HMRC seemed it to be employment, they’d go after the employer for any lost tax revenue.

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Replying to mrme89:
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By Tax Dragon
29th May 2020 14:35

mrme89 wrote:

...HMRC...’d go after the employer for any lost tax revenue.

So... declaring it as employment income sounds better, to me. Even without a calculation.

(I'm obviously playing devil's advocate, but it's an interesting point.... erm, better avoid the word "interesting" - it's a bit subjective (as Justin knows) - it's a discussion point.)

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By bernard michael
29th May 2020 09:40

My vote is employee as he is controlled by his client either in the office work and/or what classes he gives and to whom
Just to nail the coffin does he only invoice the one client who in turn invoices other people for his services ?? If so definitely an employee

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By lesley.barnes
29th May 2020 09:57

Have a look at the Samadian case. No withstanding that this person looks like an employee from the description you've given, you are working with what you've got. You need to ask is the journey from home to office predictable - I would say yes on the basis it is 3 days a week. Does the work the client carry out there make it a place of business - from what you have said (office work) I would say yes. Whether he would be able to claim for the other exercise classes he runs we don't have enough info to say whether they are predictable or not and who is controlling what classes he runs. You would need to look at the locations and circumstances and make a judgement call on the evidence you have.

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By jonharris999
29th May 2020 13:07

Not to want to disagree with esteemed colleagues (oh go on then) but IMHO we do not know nearly enough here to tell whether this is SE or Employment (in particular nothing has been said about 'control', right to substitute etc which would be pivotal).

The base of operations question follows on from that and again I don't think we really know enough.

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Replying to jonharris999:
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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 18:31

oug

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By jonharris999
29th May 2020 15:34

Not for me. First and foremost I want to know two things:

Control: who decides how the work is done?

Substitution: If Bill said that he wasn't going to turn up tomorrow but he was going to send Miranda instead, would that be OK with the paying organisation?

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