Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

It's enough to give you palpitations

12 February 2013

Having had HM Revenue & Customs on his back for more than 7 years, Dr Samadian has lost his protracted battle over his business mileage claims.  The First-Tier Tribunal did not accept that his home office could be regarded as the starting point for calculating business mileage in relation to his private practice and for which he had claimed tax relief.

Dr Samadian is a Consultant Geriatrician employed by the NHS.  Like many consultants he is also engaged in private practice.  For that private practice, Dr Samadian has a home office … which the Tribunal accepted was used for substantive professional work.  Despite that, HMRC asserted that the journeys between his home office and the hospitals (which are not the hospitals where he is employed) at which he has access to consulting rooms for his private patients were not wholly and exclusively for the purposes of his profession.

HMRC’s case centred on what were considered to be habitual journeys to what was seen as the business base at which he delivered his professional expertise.  This contrasts with older case law where an individual worked at various temporary sites but had his home office … which was where ‘he was found’.  Identifying the business base remains critical.

Dr Samadian will still be recuperating from the Tribunal decision that was released on 28 January.  However, while he is reflecting on whether to appeal, it seems HMRC are already using the decision to try to conclude other similar cases.  These may be other individuals in similar situations who came to HMRC’s attention from their Medical Consultants Campaign of 6 years ago.

But what of those hospital consultants and other professionals who are not currently under enquiry?  Will their affairs now be scrutinised much more closely as HMRC challenge mileage claims on the basis of the Samadian case?  Will earlier years be looked at as well?  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, to help you sleep better at night you might want to look out your tax enquiry insurance (you did sign up, didn’t you?) before HMRC’s enquiry letter drops through the letterbox of your home office.

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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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