Employees travelling on business need to eat. Keeping track of expense claims for meals taken whilst working away from the office can be a total pain.

You can simplify matters by telling HMRC you will pay a standardised daily subsistence rate to your employees when they work out of the office.

These tax-free and NIC-free rates for business trips within the UK are easy to remember:

• £5 for leaving home earlier than usual before 6am;
• £5 for being away for at least 5 hours;
• £10 for being away for at least 10 hours; and
• £15 for finishing work later than usual after 8pm.

The employee is expected to purchase food or drink whilst working away but you do not have to check the receipts before paying the standardised  subsistence rate. You can of course reimburse the actual cost of a meal if it is supported by receipts.

When an employee travels overseas the receipt chasing can reach a new level of pain. Fortunately HMRC have drawn up standard subsistence and accommodation rates which you can use to reimburse the costs employees incur while travelling outside the UK.

There are no standardised rates for overnight accommodation within the UK; that must be paid according to the actual costs incurred.

This article is written for the general interest of our clients and is not a substitute for consulting the relevant legislation or taking professional advice. The authors and the firm cannot accept any responsibility for loss arising from any person acting or refraining from acting on the basis of the material included herein.

Andy Fleet

Author Andy Fleet

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