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What is the 24 Month Rule?

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In order to be able to claim business expenses and offset them against taxable income your place of work must qualify as a ‘temporary workplace’ according to the HMRC.

The 24 month rule states that the cost of travel from your home (being your permanent place of residence) to your contract client address (your temporary workplace) is only allowable as a tax deductible expense for as long as you believe your contract will not exceed 24 months.  At the point where you know your contract will be longer than 24 months (for example if your contract is extended at 20 months for a further six months) then you should not claim travel expenses from the 20 month point, as you are deemed to be a permanent employee in the eyes of the revenue.

What is a 'temporary workplace'?

A temporary workplace is one where a worker attends there only to perform a task of limited duration or for a temporary purpose. In this instance a limited period is seen to be 24 months or less. Where a worker attends, or expects to attend, a location for a period of less than 24 months the workplace is a temporary one.

Where a worker can reasonably expect to be at the same workplace for 24 months, or becomes aware that they might be, it is seen to be a permanent workplace. This applies where a worker is employed on a permanent basis or as a temporary worker on a project which has duration of more than two years. As such, a workers intention and expectation can be viewed as being as important as the actual time involved.

An extension to the regulations relates to the movement of workers within a 24 month period. Where a worker changes sites on a regular basis but still has a consistent journey in terms of time, cost and destination, for example sites within the City's square mile, the workplaces would all be deemed permanent.

It is not uncommon for a worker to return to the same place of work after a period of absence. Where the worker has spent more than 40 per cent of their working time at that workplace in a 24 month period, even with a break in engagements, the workplace is considered permanent.

Can I claim expenses if I only intend to undertake a single temporary contract?

If you initially only intend performing one assignment whilst employed by an Umbrella Company (or when it becomes apparent that you will only perform one assignment) your normal place of work will be classified as 'permanent' and you will not be able to claim expenses for this one assignment.

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