Billy Elliott Actor wins claim against HMRC

The First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) has accepted a claim by actor Tim Healey that the accommodation expenses he incurred when acting in a play in London were incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of his profession, being made necessary because of the itinerant nature of his occupation.

Mr Healey appeared in the musical 'Billy Elliott' on a series of short-term contracts. When rehearsals were in progress, he stayed with a friend in London and shortly after the opening of the musical, he rented a flat near to the theatre.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) opposed the claim on the basis that Mr Healey had moved to London during the period and this meant that the costs were not the costs of travel and subsistence but normal household and accommodation costs.

The accommodation and subsistence expenses claimed totalled more than £36,000. A further £4,000 was claimed in taxi fares.

HMRC opposed all the claims.

The FTT considered that as regards the accommodation alone (the cost of which exceeded £32,000), Mr Healey had a good claim. He had, as a matter of fact, not transferred his permanent base of operations to London.

However, the claims for subsistence and taxi fares were rejected. Not only had he failed to show that these were additional costs wholly and exclusively related to his profession but also he had failed to retain receipts.