Produced by Tolley
  • 19 Oct 2021 23:29

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

  • Excessive levels of expenses
  • Introduction
  • Reasonable level of expenses
  • Travel
  • Subsistence
  • HMRC approved amounts

Excessive levels of expenses


In addition to the legislative rules that expenses be incurred because of an employee’s role, the level of expense should be reasonable otherwise it may give rise to a taxable benefit where the employer reimburses the employee. This is not a statutory test. Instead it arises because when considering whether an expense is allowable, it must be incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily for the performance of the employee’s duties. Excessive reimbursement of particularly lavish expenditure can therefore be challenged on the basis that it is not necessary, or that the reimbursement is in part to reward the employee.

If the amount reimbursed by the employer is excessive then the payment is taxable on the employee.

When reviewing the taxable status of expenses, HMRC’s guidance regularly refers to the term ‘reasonable’. It is usually only possible to say whether an expense is excessive or unreasonable on a case by case basis, with the application of common sense.

Since 2009, HMRC has published guidance rates for what it considers to be reasonable levels of subsistence payments for travelling both in the UK and outside the UK at EIM30240 and here. These are amounts which HMRC will allow an employer to reimburse without certain reporting requirements ― it is not a requirement to reimburse only these amounts. This is examined below.

Reasonable level of expenses

Most employers expect that employees only incur a reasonable level of expense in carrying out their duties. A good expenses policy with an appropriate system, process and controls should ensure that employees do not claim excessive amounts. See the Expenses policy guidance note.


HMRC’s 490: Employee travel regularly refers to a reasonable level of travel expenses. Where an amount is excessive HMRC will treat it as taxable.

For example, an employee is require

Access this article and thousands of others like it
free for 7 days with a trial of TolleyGuidance.

Popular Articles

Capital vs revenue expenditure

Capital vs revenue expenditureExpenditure of a capital nature is not allowed as a deduction when calculating trading profits. Expenditure of a revenue nature is allowable, provided there is no specific statutory rule prohibiting a deduction and the expenditure also satisfies the wholly and

25 Oct 2021 07:01 | Produced by Tolley Read more Read more

Partial exemption de minimis limit

This guidance note provides an overview of the partial exemption de minimis rules. This note should be read in conjunction with the Partial exemption overview guidance note. If a business incurs an insignificant amount of input tax which is associated with exempt supplies (exempt input tax), it may

19 Oct 2021 22:57 | Produced by Tolley Read more Read more

Chargeable transfers

This guidance note provides an overview of the basic principles of inheritance tax, when it is charged and how it is calculated. It contains links and references to other parts of the module where more details can be found.Transfers of valueInheritance tax is based on the concept of a transfer of

10 Jan 2022 15:01 | Produced by Tolley Read more Read more