Business travel and subsistence expenses

By Tolley
Business travel and subsistence expenses

The following Personal Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Business travel and subsistence expenses
  • ‘On the job’ travel
  • ‘To the job’ travel
  • Area-based employees
  • Approved mileage allowance rates
  • Travel expenses of workers supplied through intermediaries
  • Subsistence expenses
  • Excessive reimbursement of expenses

Business travel expenses which meet certain conditions are allowable deductions. These rules apply whether:

  • the employee personally pays for the travel (no reimbursement)
  • the employee pays for the travel and the costs are reimbursed by the employer
  • the costs are met directly on the employee’s behalf
  • the cost is met by vouchers (eg travel tickets) or credit tokens are provided to the employee
  • the travel facilities (eg accommodation) are provided direct to the employee

Booklet 490 , paras 1.1, 1.6

Assuming the business travel costs do not meet the conditions for the general rule (see the Business expenses ― general rule guidance note), you must decide whether the conditions for ‘on the job’ or ‘to the job’ travel are met (see below).

Travel expenses include subsistence and accommodation costs associated with the travel (see below) as well as motoring costs such as toll fees, vehicle hire charges and car parking, except where the parking is at or near the workplace as this is a tax-free benefit, see the Non-taxable benefits guidance note.

Where the cost is ultimately (whether directly or indirectly) borne by the employer and the conditions for ‘on the job’ or ‘to the job’ travel are met, there is no need for the employer to report the expenses on the employee’s form P11D and therefore there is no need for the employee to claim the deduction on his tax return. This is because, from 2016/17, reimbursed business expenses and benefits are exempt from income tax. See the Expenses and benefits matched by allowable deductions guidance note.

ITEPA 2003, ss 289A289E

Where the conditions for qualifying business travel are met but the employer does not reimburse the employee for the cost of the travel, the employee can claim the deduction against his employment income.

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