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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Employment income: scale rate expenses: subsistence expenses: examples of what ‘regular’ means

The guidance on this page applies for the tax years up to and including 2015 to 2016. For tax years 2016 to 2017 onwards, the benchmark scale rates have been revised and are now included within the exemption for amounts which would otherwise be deductible. See EIM30200 onwards.

What is meant by regular (see EIM05231)? The word ‘regular’ takes its ordinary dictionary meaning; it is something that recurs at fixed times, is periodic or is habitual.

Example 1

A travelling salesman whose normal working day is from 8.30am to 5pm is called upon to attend a meeting every Monday, which normally lasts until 8pm and a breakfast meeting each Friday, which starts at 7am and means that he has to leave home at 5.45am. He qualifies for relief for travel expenses and therefore a scale rate payment because HMRC accepts that he travels in the performance of his duties. Both the Monday and Friday meetings are habitual and recur at fixed times. The breakfast and evening meal rates will not apply. He will still be entitled to the one meal or two meal rate.

Example 2

A lorry driver whose normal working day is from 8.30am to 5pm is called upon occasionally by her employer to make extra deliveries in a day from a different depot meaning that she starts work at 7am (and leaves home before 6am) and finishes after 8pm. We would accept that the frequency of these extra duties is not regular. She will be entitled to the one or two meal rate and the breakfast or evening meal rate. She can not receive the benchmark scale rates for more than 3 meals in one 24-hour period.

Example 3

A travelling engineer who normally works from 8.30am to 5pm is called upon once or twice a month to meet different customers in the evening. These meetings often finish after 8pm. We would accept that the frequency of the meetings is not regular for these purposes. He will be entitled to the one or two meal rate and the evening meal rates on each occasion that he works after 8pm and incurs the cost of an additional qualifying meal.