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Food allowance?

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Postby Umar » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:59 am


I am self-employed and have to travel for my work. Am I allowed to claim a food allowance. I met someone the other day who says I can claim £8 per day tax free.


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Postby King_Maker » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:20 am

Claims for "subsistence" at reasonable rates are not usually challenged by HMRC.

IIRC, it used to be (and maybe still is) ~ £9.00 per day (10 hours) for HMRC employees themselves.

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Postby Umar » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:33 am

Sorry, just to clarify. When I said "travel" I didn't mean overnight. I just travel from home to base to pick up stock and then to client site to client site.

And what does the 10 hours bit mean please?


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Postby King_Maker » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:48 am

HMRC have (or used to have) different Day susbistence rates depending on how long you are away from one's base - £9.00 is the higher Day rate. The Night rate is ~ £20.00 + cost of B&B (just under £100? in London).

Everbody has to eat - so it's just the extra costs of working away from one's base which is claimable.

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Postby taxattack » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:58 am

Self employed cannot claim, following Caillebotte v Quinn http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/BIM37660.htm

Bob Jones
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Postby Bob Jones » Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:04 am

It is a long established principle that we eat in order to live not in order to work. In order to claim meal allowance whether employed or self employed it has to be shown that you are outside your normal work routine. The BIM manual, having denied relief by virtue of the decision in Caillebotte y Quinn, goes on to say that in the case if an itinerant worker there could be a claim. From the limited information available I do not think that you fall into that category and I agree with taxattack.The point of principle in C v Quinn was that due to the strenuous nature of the work his appetite was greater than it would have been. The case where an allowance may be due is where you visit, say, a strange place, somehere out of the normal routine and as a result you spend more than would otherwise have been the case. You cannot claim just because you were somewhere else - and you cannot claim if, say, you take sandwiches from home.
As regards an allowance of £8 - this is a fallacy. Strictly you must produce evidence on each occasion that you are somewhere out of the "ordinary" in order to support the claim and th claim is for the amount spent. Whether an individual HMRC officer is preared to accept a round figure is up to that individual officer.
HMRC have rates that it will pay to its own employees where they are visiting a workplace outside of their normal duties and as a result they spend more than would otherwise have been the case. This is an agreement that HMRC as employer has with HMRC as government department. HMRC employees on claiming the allowance (which is £4.25 for one meal - national rate) have to sign a statement that they were away from their normal place of employment and spent more that would otherwise have been the case - false claims could, and have, resulted in dismissal.
The figure of £8 is probably an allowance than an employer has negotiated with HMRC to pay to its employees under circumstances similar to those outlined - it has to be auditable - but it does not apply to the self employed. An Inspector of Taxes may accept a reasonable figure without questioning, a lot of the time it depends how mauch tax is at stake, but you will have to demonstrate that an allowance is due and will probably be told to keep evidence for the future.
I hope this background has been of assistance - bottom line - from the information supplied it looks as though you are working to a normal routine and as such I agree with taxattack that the claim will be denied by virtue of Caillebotte v Quinn.

Bob Jones
Internet Taxation Ltd

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Postby King_Maker » Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:42 am

"Self employed cannot claim, following Caillebotte v Quinn http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/BIM37660.htm" - taxattack.

Although correct, as far as it goes, but read on - in particular BIM37670.

Also, as I have already posted, HMRC pays subsistence allowances to its own employees. The conditions for allowable expenses are even more strict for empployees than for self-employed.

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Postby JONAH1512 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:18 pm

I work away from home. Leaving Monday morning, coming home on Friday. My hotels are payed for with a company credit card but I get £25 per night (£100 a week) for meal allowances. This is payed as overtime in my wages at the end of the month. So I get taxed on it, the same as my basic wage. I heard that a meal allownce may be tax exempt, up to a certain amount. Can you clear this up for me?

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