Contractor Meal Allowances & Expenses

Meal allowances are a valid expense for contractors – when it is a travel expense. To be allowable a meal allowance has to be an expense of travel.

You can claim for a meal allowance or actual meal costs whilst you are working at a remote site, away from your normal place of work.  Or when staying away from home overnight.  Even if you are a contractor, regular daily claims for meals are not an allowable expense, as this is part of a daily work routine.  So unfortunately, generally daily food intake is not an allowable expense.

Contractors who have limited companies should only deduct receipted food expenses. When your work situation obliges you to ‘eat out’, or when you cannot get home to eat, you may deduct food expenses with receipts.  It is important and ideal to ensure that you keep the receipts. If questioned at all in the future by HMRC, receipts will provide documentary evidence to support these claims.

In summary, a contractor that makes a business journey that qualifies for tax relief, then the expenditure on meals purchased can be an unavoidable extra expense of having to travel and therefore a meal allowance cost. As a result of this employment, extra expenditure is incurred and then that extra expenditure shall be allowable.

For more information visit the main section on contractor expenses.

Information on the HMRC website is available here regarding meal allowances:
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/nimmanual/nim05685.htm