The reasonable and necessary cost of a meal/snack and beverages incurred by an employee whilst undertaking travel, the expenses of which are included in the section relating to Travel (Excluding Mileage Allowances). The travel must occupy the whole or a substantial part of a working day encompassing the normal meal breaks. Claims must be supported by relevant receipts.
The reasonable cost, when supported by relevant receipts or invoices, of accommodation, breakfast, lunch, if applicable, and an evening meal (except where accompanied by a spouse or relative, etc.) incurred by an employee who is required to stay overnight in the course of such a journey. The travel can be either within or outside the UK but the employee must be working away on University business.
Excluded from the exemption are the cost of videos, newspapers, beverages not complementing an evening meal and private telephone calls, all of which are covered by the legislation relating to Incidental Overnight Expenses. (Please read Appendix 8 of the HM Revenue and Customs booklet 480 for further information.)
The maximum amounts of incidental overnight expenses that an employer may reimburse free of tax are:
- £5 per night for overnight stays anywhere within the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland); and
- £10 per night for stays outside the United Kingdom.
If the total amount paid exceeds the maximum tax free amount for the period of absence, the whole of the payment becomes taxable, not just the excess.