TaxPersonal TaxActor Tim Healy in landmark HMRC tax appeal

Actor Tim Healy in landmark HMRC tax appeal

Star of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet!, Tim Healy's tribunal victory proves actors can claim accommodation expenses when working away from home for extended periods of time

AUF WIEDERSEHEN, PET! actor Tim Healy claimed a partial victory in a landmark tax tribunal against HM Revenue & Customs after it was found his claim for £32,503 in accommodation expenses where “wholly and exclusively for the purposes of his profession”, and therefore tax deductible.

Healy, who is based in Cheshire, had appeared in the West End musical Billy Elliot for a total of nine months following three months of rehearsals between December 2004 and December 2005.

He was successful in his claim for living accommodation expenses as it was recognised the sole purpose of the rental of the property was to facilitate his work.

He failed, though, to prove expenses on subsistence at £4,094 and taxi fares at £4,080 fell within that remit, and so lost on those claims.
The case is pivotal as there is very little case law on actors working away from home.

Nichola Ross Martin, who acted for Mr Healy in the case, said it was fascinating that the issue had not been dealt with before.

“What’s bizarre is that we have a lot of case law on site-based workers like construction workers and doctors, but we don’t on others”, she said.
“One of the reasons [that this issue had not been addressed before] may be that it costs so much to appeal to the Revenue, and normally expenses aren’t very high, so the combination of that means that most people feel it isn’t worth their while appealing.”

Mr Healy could have been successful in his claim for travel expenses, had he more thoroughly itemised his taxi usage.

Judge Barbara King was unconvinced that all his taxi trips had been for the purpose of his work, and could well have also been for socialising as his bank statements showed he had been visiting the Groucho Club in central London.

“If he [Healy] had had itemised journeys, then he could probably had justified the travel”, said Ms Ross Martin.

She went on to call for clearer guidance from HMRC on who may qualify for subsistence expenses as itinerant workers.

“If this case had happened a year later he actually could have got tax reliefs since because the law has changed, but not for the year he was under assessment.

“We have tax relief on subsistence, but no-one knows who an itinerant worker is apart from traditional ones like fruit-pickers, but what about all these other people?”

The law now states that if you are an “itinerant worker”, then tax relief is available on subsistence. It is generally accepted that workers such as cockle and strawberry pickers fall into that group given that they move from place to place regularly.

Related Articles

HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

Personal Tax HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

2m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
HMRC tax evasion assistance requests double in five years

Corporate Tax HMRC tax evasion assistance requests double in five years

5m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Rangers tax case to have ‘dramatic’ consequences for football and business

Legal Rangers tax case to have ‘dramatic’ consequences for football and business

5m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
HMRC collects record £5bn in inheritance tax

HMRC HMRC collects record £5bn in inheritance tax

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
The top three issues that the next government must address for accountants

Making Tax Digital The top three issues that the next government must address for accountants

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
HMRC cuts over 150 offices to reduce running costs

Corporate Tax HMRC cuts over 150 offices to reduce running costs

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Finance Bill 2017: Corporate tax reporting requirements 'a burden'

Business Regulation Finance Bill 2017: Corporate tax reporting requirements 'a burden'

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer
PAC raises “serious concerns” about HMRC’s digital plans

Corporate Tax PAC raises “serious concerns” about HMRC’s digital plans

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer