Are camping pods “buildings” for capital allowances purposes?

Published: 8th December 2023

The company, Acorn Venture Ltd (AV), purchased 26 camping pods to provide accommodation for school children and teachers on residential trips. The cost of the pods was approximately £272,000. AV claimed capital allowances under the annual investment allowance on its tax return. The overall position was a loss. However, upon enquiry HMRC disallowed the claim on the basis that the pods were buildings or fixed structures.

At the hearing, the FTT made a distinction between the two types of pod included in the claim. There were 20 “basic” pods, and six more developed pods the FTT designated “teacher” pods. The basic pods were anchored to the ground to prevent movement, e.g. in windy weather. The pods were not living accommodation. At best, it could be said that they offered a similar function to a tent. The FTT determined that these basic pods were not fixed structures, and allowances could be claimed in respect of their cost. In contrast, the six teacher pods had flushing toilets, washing facilities and a kitchen area. The plumbing fixtures meant that the pods had to be secured to the ground with a greater degree of permanence than the basic pods. They were held to be fixed structures, so allowances couldn’t be claimed in respect of these pods.

This just goes to show how the devil is often in the detail with capital allowances. The two types of pod looked identical from the outside, but the internal features made the teacher pods more akin to living accommodation than a temporary shelter.

two people inside a tent