Travel Expenses For The Employed

Most people who are employed and incur expenses whilst travelling for work purposes are entitled to tax relief. Travel expenses include claiming business mileage, public transport costs and sometimes subsistence and accommodation costs. There are criteria as to which expenses are allowable for tax relief, these are set by HMRC.

Travel Expenses – Claiming Mileage

A common travel expense for claiming tax relief on is business mileage. Business mileage is any mileage incurred while travelling to a temporary workplace. A temporary workplace is classified as somewhere you travel to as part of your job that isn’t your main work base.

Can I Claim Mileage?

There are numerous different circumstances whereby an employee can claim mileage for travelling to a temporary work place. One example is if you are doing short-term work there, this may be described in your contract as “a task of limited duration”. In order to be eligible for tax relief for business mileage your work at a temporary workplace must last (or be expected to last) 2 years or less. If you hold a fixed term contract of less than 2 years, anywhere you spend more than 40% of your time does not count as a temporary workplace. This is sometimes known as the “24-month rule”.

A second example of when you should be able to claim tax relief for business mileage is if you travel to different locations as part of your job. This could be if you are a care worker or nurse who travels to visit patients in their own homes, or you are a salesperson who travels to different appointments throughout your working day.

You may also be able to get a tax rebate if you normally work from home but have to make an unexpected journey for work purposes, or if your job includes emergency call outs which you have to travel to in your own vehicle.

You cannot usually claim tax relief for expenses incurred travelling from home to a single permanent place of work. Neither can you usually claim mileage if you work from home but occasionally have to travel to your employer’s place of business.

Before making a business mileage claim you must take into account any mileage paid to you by your employer. You may still be eligible for some rebate, however, if your employer does not pay you the rate agreed by HMRC for business mileage, or if your mileage allowance is taxed.

Travel Expenses – Public Transport …

If you use public transport to travel to a temporary workplace or to travel between different places for work purposes, as described above, you can claim tax relief on the cost of public transport journeys. If you have purchased a travel card for public transport that is used only for travelling to, from and between temporary workplaces, then you will be eligible for full tax relief on the cost of the card. If you use the travel card for personal journeys though, you can only claim tax relief for any additional costs incurred during work related travel.

Again, any reimbursement paid by your employer for travelling must be taken into consideration before any tax rebate is made to you.

Travel Expenses – Subsistence and Accommodation…

If you are required to travel and stay away over night for work you could be due tax relief on accommodation and subsistence expenses. Tax relief in these circumstances is eligible on the cost of accommodation, necessary meals whilst travelling away from home and any business mileage you incur during the stay away.

If you are reimbursed by your employer for subsistence and/or accommodation costs it is still possible to make a tax rebate claim depending on how you are paid the reimbursement by your employer.