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Tax relief on gym equipment

Footballers

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In normal circumstances, I am unsure if a pro footballer could claim for gym equipment for their home, but given the lockdown last year (start of 20/21 tax year) is there not an argument that it was necessary for them to buy weights etc to keep fit? 

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By David Ex
16th Sep 2021 11:01

I’d say not.

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By AndyC555
16th Sep 2021 11:07

Suggest you have a look at BIM50620.

It's for self-employed professional athletes but I can't imagine it's too much of a stretch to get 'necessarily' in there as well in the circumstances.

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Replying to AndyC555:
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By The Dullard
16th Sep 2021 11:11

A self-employed athlete can claim capital allowances on capital expenditure, such as this, if it is used to any extent for the purposes of the self-employment, but the allowances must be restricted to the extent that the plant and machinery concerned is used otherwise than for the purposes of the self-employment.

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By The Dullard
16th Sep 2021 11:08

1) Aren't professional footballers employees?
2) Gym equipment is capital expenditure, perhaps on plant and machinery.
3) For an employee to claim capital allowances, they need to incur expenditure on plant and machinery which is NECESSARILY provided for use IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES.

Only if they spend money on gym equipment because they need to and will then kick it around a football pitch will it qualify.

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim36520

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Replying to The Dullard:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
16th Sep 2021 12:01

Are you restricting a footballers duties to kicking a football?

I'm almost certain that one of their duties is maintaining peak fitness levels to enable them to compete. Kicking the ball isn't the only thing a footballer does.

For 2020/21, I'd say there was an argument that the acquisition of equipment they could no longer access at their place of work, meant that their own purchase was necessary for them to perform their training duties.

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Replying to Lone_Wolf:
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By The Dullard
16th Sep 2021 18:10

I accept your argument may be a valid one.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Sep 2021 11:18

Your only shred of hope is that his club insisted on him having this expenditure and that it was covered by the Covid Working From Home relaxations.

I might give it a go but without huge expectation of success. Especially if he was paying out of his own money, as opposed to being reimbursed by the club.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Paul Crowley
16th Sep 2021 11:27

This is OK if every player needed and in fact did buy the same quality equipment

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Sep 2021 11:41

Paul Crowley wrote:

This is OK if every player needed and in fact did buy the same quality equipment

You think so ?

If an employer required a joiner to provide his own saw, it would only be allowable if every joiner at the company bought the same saw ?

Surely that's a step too far.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Paul Crowley
16th Sep 2021 11:58

A saw does a specific job
Keeping fit
Person A buys a £10K gym but person B copes with a Bullworker?
And C well the physio gave him list of excercises, no equipment needed

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Sep 2021 12:06

Paul Crowley wrote:

A saw does a specific job
Keeping fit
Person A buys a £10K gym but person B copes with a Bullworker?
And C well the physio gave him list of exercises, no equipment needed

A, B and C must all buy what the club dictates if the expense is to be allowable. It needn't be the same stuff.

If a list of exercises is enough for everyone, then none of the expense is allowable. But that may not be the case. Players are different.

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By SA2016
16th Sep 2021 11:29

Thanks all thus far, yes they are employees.

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By rmillaree
16th Sep 2021 11:52

without digging to far into the detail i would guess there is possibly limited scope to make a claim here that would be dependent on very specific circumstances referenced in EIM36540- ultimately it may very well be the case that they must workout at home (eg injury / covid restrictions / lack of club facilities/lack of nearby gym) - and it may be that the employer simply doesnt have the cash to offer to pay. So limited likelyhood but not impossible based on my brief reading of the link.

There are many cash strapped football clubs out there in lower leagues that can possibly dictate stuff that may seem strange simply due to the fact most footballers simply want to be given a chance to perform and will take any terms on offer. At lower leagues i would guess it may be common infact for employees to train independently and then only meet of with squad once or twice a week - in the meantime they still need to train though and therefore "probably" need the relevant tools to perform that part of their job.

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By Open all hours
16th Sep 2021 11:57

Also % of bathroom scales. Assume Mr Bielsa and others insisted on daily weight reports.

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By jonharris999
16th Sep 2021 12:09

White v Higginbottom for employees = no

Normal capex rules for self-employed = basically yes

'Tis as simple (and as unfair) as that.

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Replying to jonharris999:
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By rmillaree
16th Sep 2021 13:03

jonharris999
"White v Higginbottom for employees = no"

I would be interested on your thoughts as to whether you think the fact the plant in question here may be more "necessary" than was the case in the white v higgenbottom =example? could that make a difference?

in that case
" a clergyman claimed capital allowances on the cost of a slide projector which he used in giving audio visual sermons. The General Commissioners found as a fact that another vicar could perform the functions of religious ministry without the equipment concerned."

Here i think it could potentially be argued (would depend on facts) that the plant in question may be necessary when that was not the case in the white v higginbottom case - must admit i have only looked at the basics of what is detailed here
https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim36550

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By jonharris999
16th Sep 2021 14:22

I guess I think that White v Higginbottom means that the question can always be put: if it was necessary, why didn't the employer provide it?

If the concept is ever "I chose to provide it for myself on my own recognisance" - then it is tantamount to, for example, the comfy home-office chair.

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Replying to jonharris999:
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By Tax Dragon
17th Sep 2021 16:38

jonharris999 wrote:

I guess I think that White v Higginbottom means that the question can always be put: if it was necessary, why didn't the employer provide it?

That question can always be put, but HMRC itself draws back slightly in the EIM from your "= No, simple as" interpretation. Also, although the taxpayer lost in Telfer [2016] TC 05350, it wasn't on the grounds you mention - but on the "in the performance" point, which Dulls and Wolfie debate above. I think the footballer probably loses on Telfer grounds, tbh, though obviously the Higginbottom hurdle is there too.

(Edit: I meant to mention that I think Telfer possibly softens the tone in relation to application of Higginbottom... that was my point in mentioning it and I forgot to include the point! Muppet.)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By lionofludesch
17th Sep 2021 16:51

Tax Dragon wrote:
I think the footballer probably loses on Telfer grounds, tbh, though obviously the Higginbottom hurdle is there too.

<

Can you expand on that ? Are you saying that fitness training is not part of the player's duties as an employee ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Tax Dragon
17th Sep 2021 17:00

I shouldn't have said that - it distracts from the point I intended (but forgot) to make. In order to avoid further distraction, I withdraw the remark you quote.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By lionofludesch
17th Sep 2021 17:13

Tax Dragon wrote:

I shouldn't have said that - it distracts from the point I intended (but forgot) to make. In order to avoid further distraction, I withdraw the remark you quote.

Fair enough.

I doubt if there's any answer to the OP without a lot more detail on the circumstances. I think myself that a claim is unlikely though not entirely impossible. It depends.

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Replying to jonharris999:
RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Sep 2021 14:05

jonharris999 wrote:

White v Higginbottom for employees = no

Normal capex rules for self-employed = basically yes

'Tis as simple (and as unfair) as that.

Maybe not.

Play the Covid card and past cases could be irrelevant.

But we still don't know whether the expenditure was necessarily incurred.

Which is probably the biggest obstacle.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By gillybean04
17th Sep 2021 15:49

Did they change the law, to allow a deduction to earnings for expenses incurred due to covid?

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Replying to gillybean04:
RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Sep 2021 16:48

gillybean04 wrote:

Did they change the law, to allow a deduction to earnings for expenses incurred due to covid?

I didn't take much notice, to be honest, as I had no client affected but I seem to recall there being some temporary relaxation in approach which fell short of a change in the law.

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