Judgment rules ACCA student’s course fees are not tax deductible

A trainee accountant has failed in a bid to claim the cost of his training
courses back against tax.

DW Perrin, now a member of ACCA, claimed tax deductions of £2,491.69 and
£2,590.50 on his 2004/05 and 2005/06 self-assessment tax returns for fees paid
to study for his qualification.

Perrin argued that the training was a job requirement and that the costs of
his studies should therefore be tax deductible as they were incurred exclusively
and necessarily in the performance of the duties of his employment.

Mahmood Poptam, a partner from the firm where Perrin trained, acted as a
witness in the case and confirmed that attendance at training courses was part
of the duties of staff employed on training contracts.

Poptam said that, in his view, Perrin’s attendance at the training courses
was in the performance of the duties of his employment.

But special commissioner Charles Hellier backed HM Revenue & Customs’
decision to amend Perrin’s self-assessment returns and disallow the deductions.

Hellier said that Perrin had taken some of his courses on Saturday, when he
was not paid by the firm he worked for, and that this suggested that attendance
at the courses was not part of his duties at the firm. If Perrin had worked
overtime on a Saturday or Sunday he would have been paid.

Hellier also pointed out that the firm, not named in the judgment, offered
study leave to trainees, which pointed to time away from duties at the practice.

‘Mr Perrin was a trainee accountant… it seems to me that he was not paid for
attending the courses, but for his work in the firm’s business,’ Hellier said in
his judgment.

Hellier added that even if he had found that the training costs were
necessary for Perrin to execute his duties, it could not be argued that the
training was exclusively for this purpose.

The judgment said: ‘Mr Perrin would have found it difficult to obtain his
qualification without the courses and, at least to some extent, it must have
been that the expenditure was incurred for the purpose of getting that
qualification and thus not exclusively incurred in the performance of his

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