Travel and subsistence tool

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How it works

The travel and subsistence tool sets out the tax treatment of the reimbursement of expenses of travel and subsistence to office holders, including directors, and employees with the view to having a consistent approach. Whilst it is not possible to address all the circumstances that may arise this tool addresses the general scenarios relating to the reimbursement of expense of travel and subsistence.

Normal place of work

The "normal place of work" is the place where an employee normally performs the duties of his/her employment.
The employer’s business premises will be regarded as the normal place of work for an employee where:

  • travel is an integral part of the job involving daily appointments with customers, or
  • the duties of the employment are performed at the various premises of the employer’s customers but substantive duties are also performed at the employer’s business premises.
An employee's home would not be regarded as the normal place of work unless there is an objective requirement that the duties of the office or employment must be performed at home. It is not sufficient for an employee merely to carry out some of the duties at home.

Business journey

A business journey is one in which an employee travels from one place of work to another place of work in the performance of the duties of his/her employment but will generally involve a temporary absence from the normal place of work. Journeys between an employee’s home and place of work (and vice versa) are not business journeys and any reimbursement of subsistence expenses relating to such journeys is taxable.

Records to keep

As regards the reimbursement of expenses based on an acceptable flat rate allowance the employer must retain a record of all of the following:

  • the name and address of the employee
  • the date of the journey
  • the reason for the journey
  • the distance (km) involved
  • the starting point, destination and finishing point of the journey
  • the basis for the reimbursement of the travel expenses (e.g. temporary absence from an individual’s normal place of work).
As regards the reimbursement of actual expenses vouched by receipts, the employer must retain such receipts, together with details of the travel and subsistence expenses incurred.