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Kitchen fitters subsistence claim

Overnight allowance

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A self employed kitchen fitter working away from home tends to sleep in his van to save on accommodation bills.  Rather than keep detailed records of food bills etc my inclination is to claim (per night) 75% of the official HMRC subsistence allowances for (employed) lorry drivers as EIM66130 allows where drivers use their sleeper cabs overnight.  Does this seem reasonable? 


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23rd Jul 2019 09:23

It's a reasonable approach (IMO) although very open to HMRC challenge since the allowances don't apply to the self employed. It would be prudent to keep evidence of typical costs if you are going down this road. It's also a security measure since tradesmen tools are an easy target for thieves. If the kitchen fitter incorporated his business, then, as a director, he'd be an employee and able to apply the employed worker rules.

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23rd Jul 2019 11:18

Caillebotte v Quinn ?

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23rd Jul 2019 15:16

Dealing with Caillebotte v Quinn first, there is now statutory provision (previously an ESC) that subsistence expenditure can be deductible for itinerant traders. See BIM47705/

The amount of the deduction should be the amount of expenditure that is actually incurred on such subsistence. Any other amount, however it is arrived at, is by definition an estimate, which HMRC can challenge.

I'd imagine that when away from home overnight, or when leaving early in the morning, breakfast will be needed, which HMRC estimate at £5, but that's probably a little on the low side.

Also when away overnight, or when arriving home late there would be an evening meal, estimated by HMRC to be £15.

There will probably always be lunch, estimated at £5, so you already have a basis for a per diem estimate of £25.

I think you're pushing it to try and get the 75% lorry driver rate of £26.20, plus £5 for lunch.

Remember that the lorry driver rate is an amount that the employer can pay and not operate PAYE on, but they are still expected to carry out sample checks to ensure that subsistence expenditure is actually being incurred, and the allowance is a reasonable estimate of actual costs.

If you face a challenge, with a jobsworth tax officer, they will seek to disallow the whole expense if receipts can't be produced (most of them seem to think receipts are a requirement) and you will have to go to a tribunal to justify your estimate, which probably isn't worth it. If you don't push it though, you may not get the challenge.

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24th Jul 2019 11:16

Itinerant ?

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to Michael Davies
24th Jul 2019 11:32

Well, you could RTFM. But I imagine that the chap isn't fitting kitchens in the same place all the time.

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