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The recent tax case of Samadian v HMRC TC02523 highlights the potential problems with claiming a deduction where you have multiple places of work, reports accountants Northampton Harris & Co.

Mr Samadian is a self employed consultant geriatrician. He worked at home and at several private and NHS hospitals. His work at the NHS hospitals was in the course of his employment with the NHS. His work at home and at the private hospitals was in his self employed capacity.

You might have thought that the cost of travelling between the private hospitals and home would be an allowable expense. However, the Tax Tribunal cited the case of Mallalieu v Drummond (1983) 3 WLR 409. In this case although Ms Mallalieu did not have any concious non-business motive for incurring the expenditure, the Court decided that she must have had an unconcious non-business motive in her mind. In that case, the expenditure did not fulfill the "purpose of the trade" definition and was not allowable.

The Tribunal decided that part of Mr Samadian"s object in making those journeys must be in order to maintain a private place of residence which is geographically separate from the hospitals. It follows that his travel between his home and the hospitals canot be deductible on the basis of the reasoning in Mallalieu.

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