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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Tax treatment of lorry drivers: allowances paid to lorry drivers: porters in removal vans

When working away from home or their normal place of work, lorry drivers usually receive a payment in respect of each period spent away. The payment includes a subsistence element and, sometimes, an additional round sum payment.

Where a subsistence payment is made using the published benchmark scale rates, under the terms of an approval notice using a bespoke rate, or as a reimbursement of actual expenses incurred, it can be made free of tax and NICs subject to the employer having a system in place for checking that payments are only made on occasions when the employee would be entitled to a fully matching deduction: EIM66105.

From 6 April 2019, employers will no longer be required to operate a system for checking an employee’s expenditure in order to make payments free of tax in relation to expenses paid or reimbursed using benchmark scale rates only. Instead, employers will only be required to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying travel on occasions in respect of which a payment is made or reimbursed and that neither the employer nor any other person knows or suspects or could reasonably be expected to know or suspect, that travel was not undertaken. See EIM30225. A checking system will however still be necessary if subsistence payments are made using bespoke rates or industry wide agreed amounts.

Where an additional round sum payment is made it is chargeable to tax and NICs.

Porters in removal vans

Removal vans commonly carry a two-man crew, a driver and a porter. The porter may receive tax-free subsistence payments on the same basis as the driver. See EIM66105 onwards.