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Human Injuries In The Equine Industry And The Cost Of Repair


Julie Butler - Expert Author

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Published on 21st July 2010

There are a large number of self employed individuals and partnerships in the equine industry. The nature of the work can vary enormously, but there is one common theme – injury. The horse is an unpredictable animal of huge strength and power - accidents are inevitable. A recent tax case allowed a taxpayer, a stuntman, to claim against his taxable income the cost of private medical expenses.

The case of Mr David S Parsons (TC421) allowed tax relief on “medical expenses” but not “health and fitness”. HMRC’s response is that it does not see this as a precedent and will look at each case on a case by case basis but there is hope to claim medical expenses.

HMRC agreed that Mallalieu v Drummond [1983] STC 665 held that expenditure could be deductible (i.e. allowable for income tax) if any other benefit was purely incidental to the carrying on of the trade. However, the main reason for the expenditure in order to achieve tax relief had to be wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business and the onus of proof was on the taxpayer.

It must be proved by the taxpayer that the object of the taxpayer in making the expenditure has to be distinguished from the effect of the expenditure. The expenditure should be made exclusively to serve the business i.e. if the cost of a private operation on an injured limb means that work can be resumed more promptly there can be no doubt as to tax allowability. The similarity between the professional jockey and the stuntman is obvious. There is only a limited number of years that a professional jockey is at their peak (although some famous jockeys defy this logic) - both need to repair promptly , so as to start earning again, so as to not lose out on top rides etc. Jockeys are so professionally motivated and business like that often their own personal health is immaterial – it is being in a strong position to win the next race and to keep earning that is their motivation. The same would apply to professional show jumpers, eventers and dressage riders.

The equine industry is full of professionals who can be injured – work riders, trainers, the list is endless. The question is then raised over gym membership. “Health and fitness” costs were not allowed in Parsons but a recent agreement (see text below) has been reached with professional Divers as follows:

The text which follows represents the results of negotiations between HMRC’s Divers Unit and RMT, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers. The test is from the union representative.

‘To all RMT p members

‘An increasing number of p members have asked me whether they can claim for the cost of going to the gym to keep fit for a p medical and dental costs as good teeth are also required for the p medical.

‘Following discussions between the RMT and the HMRC Divers Unit in Aberdeen as to whether the following expenses, “gym and dental” costs would be allowable for persons who undertake an annual HSE p medical, both sides presented cases for and against the expenses being allowed against trade receipts. Claims for the cost of gym training (membership of a fitness or health club or use of such facilities) to keep fit for a p medical and essential dental work to pass a p medical, will be considered by HMRC Divers Unit in Aberdeen, subject to official receipts.

‘The HMRC Divers Unit in Aberdeen have assured RMT that each case will be looked at on its merits and that in the spirit of a compromise, claims of up to 50% from persons aged say 50.’

Again there are a lot of similarities to professional Divers and professionals in the Equine world. Jockeys have to pass medicals to race again, therefore the “gym” expense can be argued to be wholly for the purpose of being able to ride again.

Action Plan for Professional Riders and Trainers

In order to achieve maximum tax relief the action plan has to be for equine professionals to discuss the ability to claim medical expenses and health and fitness costs with their tax adviser. Contact your professional body to see their response to both the Parsons case and HMRC’s “Divers Unit”. Tax relief could be allowed on these expenses which are wholly necessary for the purpose of the self employment. It is also worth reviewing previous years if these expenses have not been claimed for tax relief purposes.

About the Author

Article supplied by Julie Butler F.C.A. Butler & Co, Bennett House, The Dean, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9BH.  Tel: 01962 735544.  Email;, Website;

Julie Butler F.C.A. is the author of Tax Planning for Farm and Land Diversification ISBN: 0754517691 (1st edition) and ISBN: 0754522180 (2nd edition) and Equine Tax Planning ISBN: 0406966540.  The third edition of Tax Planning For Farm and Land Diversification will be published shortly.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-10-22 12:32:48 in Tax Articles

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