If you are self-employed you may have a number of customers you go to  regularly to work at their premises. This could apply to mobile  hairdressers, cleaners, gardeners, and even medical professionals who  work at private clinics. The miles you drive to reach each of your  customers from your business base are used to calculate the amount of  travel expenses you claim in your business accounts.

This is all good, but the Taxman has recently argued in a tax case  that where the business is based at the person’s home, that  home-office can’t be treated as the starting point for travel when the  work is performed almost entirely at customers’ properties. The Taxman  has particularly challenged travel expenses claimed by doctors who  work at private clinics and do not see patients at their home-office.

The Taxman has tried to ignore the necessary preparation and report  writing work the doctor has to perform at his home-office.

The Taxman has agreed that travel between customers is allowable, so  the mobile hairdresser or cleaner who travels to several customers  each day should be able to claim the majority of their travel  expenses. However, travel from the home-office to say one private  clinic and back home again is in question.

This doesn’t mean you should stop claiming the cost of travelling to  customers, but to head-off any challenge in the future, you  should record every business related journey; where it started, number  of miles and the reason for the journey – who were you seeing. Using  an estimate of your total business mileage for the year is no longer  an acceptable method of calculating your travel expenses. You should  also record what part of your business you conduct at your  home-office, such as preparing estimates or writing reports.

If you are concerned you may be affected, please contact us for  advice.