Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the U.K. tax authority, has recently announced that there will be no change to the figures in the tables on travel and subsistence expenses for the year commencing 1 October 2015.1
Every year, HMRC publishes updates to the tables showing the amounts that can be reimbursed to employees for travel and subsistence when they travel outside the U.K. for business. As noted, this year, there are no changes.
The tables provide welcome clarity to employers on the amounts that can be reimbursed free of U.K. income tax and National Insurance contributions in relation to travel outside the U.K. for business.
Employers should continue to refer to the figures published in October 2014 for relevant payments from October 2015.
The travel and subsistence tables provide benchmark figures on a country-by-country basis, and also include information for the larger cities in many countries. Information provided in the tables includes:
The recent announcement comes in the context of a wider ongoing review by the U.K. tax authorities of the rules surrounding travel and subsistence.2 The latest stage of this – a discussion paper published in September – concentrated on relief for U.K. travel and subsistence, but did note that the U.K. government intends to include international travel “at a later stage in the review, once an initial framework is in place.”3 One possible outcome might be that a (simplified) version of these rates will be incorporated into legislation in future.
Employers should continue to refer to the October 2014 document for the year commencing 1 October 2015.
Although the current consultation into the wider travel and subsistence rules does not focus specifically on the international rules, the U.K. government has stated that it would be happy to consider any comments that are submitted at this stage. This phase of the consultation process closes on 16 December 2015 and we are likely to see a response from the U.K. government in early 2016 (possibly alongside the 2016 Budget). This may include more detailed proposals for changes to the treatment of non-U.K. travel and subsistence.
1 See “Guidance: Scale rate expenses payments: employee travelling outside the UK,” HMRC (last updated 27 October 2015).
2 See “Open consultation: Travel and subsistence review,” HM Treasury (last updated 23 September 2015).
3 See “Open consultation: Travel and subsistence discussion paper,” HM Treasury (published on 23 September 2015).
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