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bigduckontax, Accountant
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I am involved in the management of a haulage company. The

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I am involved in the management of a haulage company. The drivers normally leave the depot at 8 am and are often not back till late evening or even overnight. If they are overnight we pay for their accommodation, but can you outline what other expenses we can give them tax free, e.g. lunch allowance, dinner allowance, overnight allowance etc.? Thank you.

Hello, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question.

Here are the HMRC benchmark rates for meals cost wholly and necessarily incurred in the business:

'The benchmark scale rates that apply are as follows:

Description Amount (up to)

Breakfast rate £5

One meal (5 hour) rate £5

Two meal (10 hour) rate £10

Late evening meal rate £15'

I do hope that you have found my reply of assistance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello can you advise the circumstances when the meal allowance can be claimed. E.g. if a driver leaves the depot at 0800 hors and returns at 2000 hours, would he be eligible for Breakfast + Two Meals; or Breakfast plus Late evening meal, or Breakfast plus lunch plus Late Evening Meal. Is there a difference if he returns at 2200 hours? And if he stays away overnight, is there an overnight allowance?

Leaving at 0800 hrs no entitlement to breakfast claim [source: BKLTAX]

'Breakfast rate

Up to £5 may be paid where a worker leaves home earlier than usual and before 6.00 am and incurs a cost on breakfast taken away from his home.'

For other claims :

'Two meal / Ten hour rate

Up to £10.00 may be paid where the worker has been away from his home/normal place of work for a period of at least ten hours and has incurred a cost on a meal or meals.

Late evening meal rate

Up to £15 may be paid where the employee has to work later than usual, finishes work after 8.00 pm, having worked his normal day and has to buy a meal which he would usually have at home. As for the breakfast rate, this applies only to irregular payments, and late shift working would not permit this to be used.'

The employee would appear to be entitled to both these rates in the scenario set out in the question.

I do hope that you find my reply of assistance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks - one last thin. Overnight allowance?

KF Accounting Services advise:

'If the business requires a trip with an overnight stay then the employee can claim for the cost of the accommodation and reasonable expenses for the evening meal and breakfast.
Beware – anything claimed for locations too close to the noirmal base of work might not be considered to be subsistence. Also bear in mind that the HMRC guidance says reasonable costs.
Beware – alcohol is not subsistence unless it is purchased with a meal and even then it must be reasonable e.g. one drink or half a bottle of wine.'

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