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What can you claim when travelling on Business?

What can you claim when travelling on Business?

Claiming Expenses

There are two ways to claim business travel expenses. The first one is to pay for the service from your company account using a corporate credit card and keep the receipt. The second is to pay for the expense yourself and then claim this back providing a receipt through your expenses system.

You will note that in both situations you must provide a receipt for the product or service bought and you must keep accurate records of the expense. These are a must to ensure that these payments are justified and the claim would then be successful.

According to HMRC the repayment is justified when it is wholly and exclusively incurred as you carry out the duties of your job. So for example a claim for the clothes you wear would not be justified unless it is a uniform or required for the job. Examples of what you can and cannot claim for follows;

Hotels

Getting to stay in a hotel is one of the benefits of being a business traveller. However staying at the 6* Lowry Hotel in Manchester when you travel for work is probably inappropriate and might be challenged by HMRC. Most likely you will book your hotel in advance so make sure you’ve read your companies travel policy because this should explain at what star level your hotel can be booked. Do this and your hotel request should be approved.

Meals

If you are away from home on a work trip you can’t reasonably be expected to take a packed lunch. Again your travel policy should explain the amount you can spend on your meals over the time you are away. The amount you spend will most likely be restricted so read and absorb it to make sure you are not out of pocket when it comes to claiming back your expense. Keep your receipts so that you have proof of what you’ve spent.

Transport

If you use your own car to travel to your business meetings then you can claim a per-mile rate but you must keep a note of the business mileage you do. For other travel like rail, flights and ferries these can all be expensed with receipts. You should also be able to claim for parking, toll or congestion charges but if you get a parking and speeding ticket you must cover the cost of these.

Other Transport Costs

Your journey from home to your place of work is not an allowable expense so this cannot be claimed. But if you then travel to another office to a meeting then this journey is able to be claimed. If you change offices on a temporary basis then the difference between home to normal office and home to the temporary office is the norm to be claimed.

Equipment while travelling

Any equipment you need to carry out your normal duties while traveling can be expensed. This includes Laptops, mobile phones and accessories such as chargers and ear phones. More on Telephone calls later.

Now for some of the more contentious expenses;

Customer or Supplier Entertainment

When travelling for business, the situation can arise, where you might treat a customer or supplier to some form of entertainment. HMRC disallows this as an allowable expense. This includes anything as small as a meal or as large as a flight.

Telephone calls

When you are away on business it’s highly likely that you will want to keep in touch with your office and your family. Also check emails and maybe the status of your flight. If you use your own phone to do this you cannot claim your line rental because it’s not for the exclusive use of the business.

However you can claim your business calls back. Alternatively if you have a business phone then you need to pay for the personal calls and potentially a proportion of the line rental. These will also be subject to tax as well as a benefit in kind.

About the Author
Steve was the Operations Director of a UK based TMC (Travel Management Company) for 5 years and also runs a successful Travel Agency. He has extensive experience in both business and leisure travel, living and visiting many of the countries he recommends in his travel blogs.