Food and accommodation
Written by Ray Coman
In general, as food and shelter are required in order to live, they are not considered to be a business cost. However subsistence, or the reasonable costs of meals and accommodation while away on business travel, can be deducted from taxable profits. Subsistence costs will only be allowable where related to business travel, and not over-the-top.
Subsistence costs related to business travel can be deducted in addition the mileage allowance. The rules relating to subsistence also apply to overseas travel. Tax deductible overseas expenses are limited to those related to business travel and are not extended to the taxpayers' family.
Business travel excludes private journeying and ordinary commuting, that is between your home and permanent workplace.
Inasmuch as business travel excludes ordinary commuting, meals at your 'base of operations', or usual workplace, are not allowable. In general, if you do not have to be somewhere other than your normal workplace or home for business, then the costs of, say, lunch are not tax deductible. Where you have to stay overnight at your base of operations, the related accommodation costs are not an allowable business expense.
The courts have decided that you will not be allowed any tax deduction for food even where you consider that you have to eat more in order to carry out your job.
We aim to help you keep your taxes to a minimum by letting you know the business expenses on which you can get tax relief. Please consult us for advice.