Your travel expenses are generally allowed as a business expense where all of the following conditions apply:
- You’re responsible for paying the travel costs
- The travel you’re undertaking is necessary for your work, i.e. your attendance at the place you’re travelling to is mandatory
- The travel shouldn’t be ‘ordinary commuting’. HMRC defines a commute as the journey you make between your home and permanent workplace.
A permanent workplace is defined as somewhere you attend regularly, which forms a ‘base’ to work from, or where you must attend to perform certain duties. For example, if you work in the same office, nine-to-five, Monday to Friday.
However, HMRC also look for patterns in your travel. So, for example, if your work regularly involves a meeting at a specific office every Monday afternoon, this could be a ‘pattern of travel’ and mean that this mileage can’t be claimed.
To be considered a valid business trip, the journey must be from one workplace to another, for the purpose of work.
Here are some exceptions:
The 24 month rule
A workplace will be regarded as permanent if the following apply:
- You’ve spent more than 40% of your total working time at this same location
- You’ve worked there continuously for 24 months
- You intend to be at the workplace for more than 24 months
A workplace can be a geographical area, even if you perform work there for different clients. Please see HMRC’s guidance on the matter.
If you do have a permanent workplace, then any travel, rent and subsistence expenses for that location and journey won’t be allowable as a business expense, because the travel would be considered ordinary commuting.
The workplace becomes permanent from the moment that you show intent to remain there for more than 24 months. You can claim for any travel to the temporary workplace up until the point of forming this intention.
Forming the intention might be implied by signing a contract, for instance.
Trouble recording expenses?
Check out our mileage expenses spreadsheet – it’s a great way to stay organised.
If you’re a Crunch client then you may like to view our Help Centre article on how to record travel expenses in the Crunch App.