Can I claim a meal allowance?

HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) in the United Kingdom allows certain individuals to claim tax relief for meal expenses incurred during business-related travel (to Temporary Worksites). This relief typically falls under the rules for subsistence expenses.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Business Travel and Overnight Stays: If you are required to travel for business purposes and stay overnight, you may be eligible to claim meal allowances. This can include the cost of meals and Personal Incidental Expenses (PIE’s). As of January 2024, the Meal Allowance linked to overnight stays is £25 and PIE’s is £5.
  2. Fixed Meal Allowances (Scale Rate Expenses): HMRC provides fixed or scale rate allowances for meals when you are on a business trip. These rates are set amounts and vary depending on factors such as the location and duration of the trip. They are designed to cover the cost of meals without the need for detailed receipts. As per the website;
Employee subsistence ratesUpper limits
One meal (5 hour) ceiling£5
Two meal (10 hour) ceiling£10
Three meal (12 hour) ceiling£15
24 hour ceiling£25
  1. Receipts and Detailed Records: While fixed-rate allowances simplify the process, it’s essential to keep records of your business-related travel, including dates, locations, and the purpose of each trip. Detailed records can be important if you ever need to provide evidence to HMRC.
  2. Non-Overnight Business Travel: If you are on a business trip but do not stay overnight, claiming meal allowances becomes more complex. In general, you can only claim expenses for meals if they are considered necessary due to the nature of your work, and you must meet specific criteria.
  3. Employer Reimbursement: If your employer reimburses you for meal expenses during business travel, and the reimbursement is less than the approved scale rates, you may be eligible to claim tax relief for the difference.

It’s important to note that tax rules can change, and individual circumstances may vary. Always refer to the latest HMRC guidance and consult with a tax professional, such as Go Tax Refunds, for the most up-to-date and personalised advice based on your specific situation.