How is ordinary commuting defined for travel costs
As a general rule, there is no tax relief for ordinary commuting. The term ‘ordinary commuting’ is defined to mean travel between a permanent workplace and home, or any other place that is not a workplace. Case law has also confirmed that travel between home and a permanent workplace is ordinary commuting even where home is also a workplace.
In practical terms this means that there is no deduction for the cost of travel between an employee’s permanent workplace and:
- an employee’s home (with some limited exceptions), or
- any other place the employee visits for reasons that are not related to the employment, or
- any place at which the employee performs the duties of another employment.
Any journey between an employee’s permanent workplace and home or any other place at which the employee’s attendance is not necessary for the duties of that employment, is ordinary commuting for which no deduction is due.
The rules are different for temporary workplaces where the expense is allowable. A workplace is defined as a temporary workplace if an employee goes there only to perform a task of limited duration or for a temporary purpose.
There are specific exemptions from tax for works bus services and subsidies paid to public bus services as well as for the provision by an employer of bicycles, and cycling equipment in order to encourage environmentally friendly transport between home and work.