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Dentist takes a bite out of expenses rules

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A dentist claimed for accommodation costs near the hospital where he was training as a maxillofacial surgeon, as he was required to treat patients within 30 minutes of being called.

14th Jan 2022
Tax Writer
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Kunjur was a qualified dental surgeon with 17 years experience who was based in Southampton.

Wishing to become a maxillofacial surgeon, Kunjur accepted the only available position, at St George’s Hospital in South London, which included some periods at King’s College.

As a maxillofacial surgeon, Kunjur operated as a head and neck specialist, dealing with patients who had suffered major trauma and life-threatening injuries and those who had cancer. Operations could take 12 hours to complete.

Kunjur’s training lasted between October 2012 and October 2016. It was not possible to relocate his family to London during that time.

Job requirements

Part of Kunjur’s duties involved being on-call two nights each week and one weekend in six. In addition, if any maxillofacial patient required assistance during the night, it was normal for him to be called by the official on-call team for advice

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Replies (6)

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By Brend201
14th Jan 2022 15:41

Obviously the relevant people in HMRC or their family members have never had a serious facial injury requiring urgent treatment or referral late at night.

Thanks (1)
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By GHarr497688
14th Jan 2022 16:03

I wonder of Boris's works doo was wholly and exclusively for business purposes. I would think HMRC should get Sue Gray to take a look into HMRC. I dread to think of what failing she might find.

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By Winnie Wiggleroom
15th Jan 2022 13:18

and if he had instead stayed in a local hotel on the nights and weekends he was on duty?

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By Paul Crowley
15th Jan 2022 22:13

I expect hotels in London on a daily basis for the 2 days per week and one weekend in 6 needed would probably cost more than the accomodation did
But then he also stayed there when there was no need and saved hours and money in commuting
This was definitely a mixed dual purpose cost
Fair result
Shame HMRC could not get there
But then tax payer and his agent did not get there either

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Mature Student
17th Jan 2022 13:49

On saying the tax payer and agent didn't get there either.
Are we sure about that? Was it a negotiating tactic - go in low and it could be cut lower but go in as high as possible and by aiming to minimise how much it is cut by may well give a better result?

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By Hugo Fair
15th Jan 2022 23:37

"the FTT found that Kunjur was obliged to incur the expenditure on the accommodation as the holder of an employment" and
"the FTT found it was neither reasonable for him to use undergraduate accommodation, find a hotel, nor to uproot his family for the duration of the training contract."

Personally I find those findings perverse. Ignoring for now the value of the work, the taxpayer *chose* to accept a job knowing that (a) there would at the very least be a massive commute to get to the place of work and (b) the performance of some key duties would be impossible due to the distance between where they needed to take place and where he lived.
No-one forced him to accept that job or prevented him from moving house (if the job was that important to him).

Many of us have been in that position over the years ... and have had to cope with the consequences without expecting the taxman (i.e. the rest of us) to subsidise our decision - especially where in this case it was essentially to maintain a comfortable lifestyle not deemed commensurate with either undergraduate accommodation or a cheap hotel (which is certainly available near his workplace for considerably less than typical flat rentals).

Of course the sting in the tail is that the FTT also found that "a portion of Kunjur’s accommodation expenses were eligible for deduction under section 336, by reference to the amount of time he spent giving advice from the accommodation while conducting on-call duties, but NOT including time spent waiting for calls."
So it has been left for " HMRC and Kunjur to agree the proportion of accommodation expenses to be deducted, by reference to the actual duties performed at the accommodation" ... which should be an interesting set of conversations unless he has exact call-logs!

Thanks (12)