HMRC travel and subsistence what you need to know!

If you have to travel to and from a temporary place of work, this can often mean that you are eligible for a HMRC travel and subsistence tax refund. If you do indeed purchase your own food whilst travelling then you could be due a tax rebate on the amount you spent. All you would need to do is keep a record of what you have spent e.g. retain receipts for said purchases.

Claiming a food tax refund for food on the go

Here are some examples taken from HMRC’S own manual of what you can do when making a HMRC travel and subsistence claim.





Example 1

Chris is required to spend 3 months in 2013/14 working at the site of one of his employer’s clients. He travels to the site each Monday morning, stays in a hotel close to the temporary workplace and travels home late each Friday evening, eating dinner on the way. During the week he takes some of his meals in the hotel and others at a nearby restaurant. The cost of his travel between his home and the site, the accommodation and all the meals are allowable travel expenses.

However, if he were to travel home on a Wednesday evening, spend the night at home and take his wife out for a meal no deduction would be permitted for the cost of that meal. This is because the qualifying business journey ceases when he arrives home and re-commences on Thursday morning when he sets off to travel back to the site.


Example 2

Michael is employed as a travelling salesman visiting customers across the UK throughout the day. He travels to his first customer direct from home and travels home directly from his last customer of the day. Each day he purchases and eats lunch whilst travelling between customers.

Michael is travelling in the performance of his duties therefore the costs of his travel both to and from home and between customers together with the cost of his meals incurred whilst en route are allowable under section 337.


Example 3

James is employed as a travelling salesman visiting customers across the UK throughout the day. Each day he travels from his home to his office and from there travels to visit his customers. He returns to the office after visiting his last customer before travelling home.

The cost of travel between James’ home and office and any associated subsistence costs incurred on those journeys are not allowable as this is ordinary commuting. However, the cost of travel and subsistence incurred by James after he leaves the office on his way to his first customer, and the costs incurred in travelling between customers and in returning to the office are all allowable under section 337 as they are incurred in the performance of the duties.


Example 4

Helen is a financial adviser who works 2 ½ days a week at her employer’s office in Reading and 2 ½ days a week at their Oxford office. She travels directly from home to both offices apart from the day when she works half a day in Oxford and half a day in Reading. On those days she travels from home to Oxford and then from Oxford to Reading. She travels home directly from Reading.

Helen does not attend the Oxford or Reading offices for tasks of limited duration or any other temporary purpose. She is not entitled to claim relief for any of her home-to-office travel; as she has two permanent workplaces this is all classed as ‘ordinary commuting’.

She is however entitled to relief for the cost of travel between Oxford and Reading by virtue of section 337 as this is travel in the performance of the duties. The qualifying business journey commences when she leaves the Oxford office and ceases when she arrives at the Reading office. She is not entitled to relief for the costs of staying overnight at Oxford or Reading because they are permanent workplaces.



We work hard to ensure you receive the HMRC travel and subsistence tax refund that you are entitled to. We do not claim for anything you are not entitled to. Start your claim now via our online forms or call us on 0151 345 6233 to discuss further.

What records & receipts do you have to keep when making a food tax refund claim?

What Can I Claim Tax Back On?

You can claim tax back on most work-related expenses. Below is a list of items that you can request a tax rebate on:


• Vehicles for work use
• Fuel/Mileage costs
• Travel expenses
• Overnight expenses (food in certain circumstances)
• Rail Tickets (single & season tickets)
• Uniforms, work clothing, and tools
• Cleaning costs for uniforms
• Professional fees, subscriptions & unions fees


This list is an example of what you could claim back; there may be expenses & items specific to the job role that you could claim back.

What are the Deadlines?

  • Current legislation in the UK says you can go back up to four Tax years when claiming a Tax rebate. This means at the current moment in time you can make a claim for the following periods:
    • Year ended 5th April 2020
    • Year ended 5th April 2021
    • Year ended 5th April 2022
    • Year ended 5th April 2023


    Effectively this means you can claim Tax relief from 6th April 2019.

    Over such a long period of time wage slips and p60s can be lost or misplaced. This isn’t a problem as you have lots of ways to obtain this information.


    • Contact your current/previous employers as they are legally obliged to keep your records going back 6 years and because of GDPR if your request that information they have to provide it to you.


    • You could log into your government gateway which is easy to set up if you have never done this.


    • Contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and request that they post out to you a tax history letter which usually arrives in 10 working days from when you request it from them and this tax history letter will go back 4 years.

Are you owed Tax back from HMRC? Find out today

Am I Due Any Tax Back?

Most workers, whether employed or self-employed may be due a tax rebate for work-related items, expenses or because they have paid too much tax. HMRC do not know everyone’s individual circumstances, and it is up to the taxpayer to contact HMRC to see if they are entitled to any tax relief.


Other reasons for a tax refund may include pension payments, redundancy payments, interest from a savings account, PPI, or UK income if you are living aboard.


All claims for tax refunds and rebates are reviewed on a case by case basis. Use our tax claim form and answer a few simple questions to see if you could be entitled to make a claim.

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