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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Employment income: scale rate expenses payments: accommodation and subsistence payments to employees travelling outside the UK: tables of benchmark rates: examples

The following examples show how employers may use the HMRC published rates (see EIM05250) to reimburse employees’ accommodation and subsistence expenses for travel outside the UK.

Example 1

An employee on a business trip to Switzerland arrives in Geneva at 15.00 on Monday and books into a hotel in the city. He checks out after breakfast on Thursday and leaves on the 09.00 flight. The employer may reimburse the employee as follows:

Period and rates Amount
2 x 24 hour rate (15.00 Monday to 15.00 Wednesday) 726 Swiss francs
Wednesday night (room rate) 207.5    ,,       ,,
10 hour rate (15.00 Wednesday to 09.00 Thursday) 117.5    ,,       ,,
Total 1051 Swiss francs

(Note that payment for the 18 hour period from 15.00 on Wednesday to 09.00 on Thursday is limited to the room rate (207.5 Swiss Francs) plus the 10 hour rate (117.5 Swiss Francs))

Alternatively, if the employer pays for the hotel room direct, or chooses to reimburse the employee’s actual (room only) accommodation expenses, they may use the benchmark rates to pay tax/NIC free subsistence expenses as follows:

Period and rates Amount
2 x total residual rate (15.00 Monday to 15.00 Wednesday) 311 Swiss francs
10 hour rate (15.00 Wednesday to 09.00 Thursday 117.5    ,,        ,,
Total 429 Swiss francs

In either case, the employer may choose to reimburse the employee’s subsistence expenses using the individual meal rates in place of the over 10 hour and 24 hour rates.

Example 2

An employer pays for an employee on a business trip to Canada to stay at a hotel in Toronto for 2 nights on a room only basis. The hotel bills the employer direct for the room charge. The employee arrives in Canada at 15.00 on Monday and leaves on the 09.00 flight on Wednesday. The employer may reimburse the employee’s subsistence expenses as follows:

Period and rates Amount
1 x total residual rate (15.00 Monday to 15.00 Tuesday) 151.5 Canadian $
10 hour rate (15.00 Tuesday to 09.00 Wednesday) 118      ,,         ,,
Total 270 Canadian $

Alternatively, the employer may choose to reimburse the employee’s subsistence expenses using the individual meal rates in place of the over 10 hour and total residual rates.

Example 3

An employee spends a day in Belgium on business, arriving in Brussels at 09.00 and leaving at 20.00. The employer may reimburse subsistence expenses at the Brussels rate for over 10 hours: 71 euros.

If the employee had left Brussels between 14.00 and 19.00, reimbursement would have been limited to the over 5 hour rate: 27 euros.

Alternatively, the employer may choose to reimburse the employee’s subsistence expenses using the individual meal rates in place of the over 5 or over 10 hour rates.

Example 4

An employee makes a business trip to Madrid, where she stays for 2 nights as the guest of a friend. Meals are provided free of charge, except for 2 lunches which the employee has to buy while she is in the city on business. The employer may reimburse:

2 x 10% of Madrid total residual rate (114.5 euros) = 23 euros

The employer may also reimburse the cost of the two lunches that the employee had to pay for. They may reimburse the employee’s actual expenses, or they may use the Madrid lunch rate (29.5 euros).

See EIM05265.

Example 5

An employee travels on business to Orlando, Florida, where he stays for 3 days as the guest of a business client. All accommodation and meals are provided by the host company.The employer may reimburse:

3 x 10% of subsistence only rate for Florida (US$98.5) = US$29.55 (say US$30)

See EIM05270.

Example 6

An employee on a business trip to Switzerland arrives in Geneva at 15.00 on Monday and books into a hotel in the city. He pays for all his own meals except dinner on Wednesday, when the host pays. He checks out after breakfast on Thursday and leaves on the 09.00 flight. The employer may reimburse the employee as follows:

Period and rates Amount
2 x 24 hour rate (15.00 Monday to 15.00 Wednesday) 726 Swiss francs
Wednesday night (room rate) 207.5     ,,      ,,
10 hour rate (15.00 Wednesday to 09.00 Thursday) 117.5 Swiss francs less dinner rate 69 Swiss francs 48.5       ,,      ,,
Total 982 Swiss francs

See EIM05270.

Example 7

An employee makes a business trip to Berlin, where he stays for 10 days in a company-owned flat on a self-catering basis. The employer may reimburse:

Period and rates Amount
7 days x 80% of Berlin total residual rate (72 euros) 403 euros
3 days x 50%  ,,     ,,      ,,       ,,         ,, 108      ,,
Total 511 euros

See EIM05275.