Are you missing out on food and fuel work expenses? Find out what you can claim


Are you missing out on up to £732 of work expenses every year? Find out what food and fuel expenses you are entitled to.

It costs to work. Between the commute, food, drink and mandatory work travel, the cost of being employed quickly adds up. Some expenses just have to be absorbed – and your wage should ideally cover for this – but you could be missing out on reimbursement without realising.

A recent survey by Rental Cars has revealed that 40% of women in the UK either forget or don’t bother to claim back their expenses. And with the average amount of missed expenses totalling £61 per month, that’s a significant annual loss of £732.

If an average of £700 per year added to your bank account sounds appealing, it’s time to start taking your expense reports more seriously.

What food and drink expenses can you claim?

Combined, food and drink were rated the biggest unclaimed expense on the survey, with just under £20 per month being the average amount. While your daily breakfast and lunch in the office can’t be reclaimed, if you’re eating out as part of a business trip you could claim back some of the cost.

If you’re either travelling between a temporary work space (for instance, a location that isn’t a permanent office for the company you work for), or if you’re travelling for a meeting or event as part of your job role, you can reclaim the cost of food and drink. If you’re travelling to your normal workplace or another permanent workplace – such as the company’s second office – you won’t be able to reclaim.

Your workplace should have a policy that states the amounts you can spend for any particular meal – for instance, £10 for breakfast, £10 for lunch, and £20 for dinner. If this is the case, you won’t be able to claim back more than that amount.

Request a VAT receipt when you purchase any food or drink, and keep hold of it. Expenses claimed for food and drink come under tax relief, so your employer will need these receipts as evidence.

What mileage and fuel expenses can you claim?

The survey revealed that 71% of female workers use their own car for work purposes, aside from the commute. Almost half pay for their own business insurance, and the average distance travelled per month totals 42 miles. On top of this is an average distance of 25 miles per month travelled in a rental car.

All of this can add up – especially when it comes to the cost of fuel, not to mention wear and tear on your personal vehicle. Whether your business offers a mileage policy or not, the official Mileage Allowance Relief can help you to claim back the expense.

The government has regularly updated mileage guidelines which you can claim back on your tax return annually. Meanwhile, if your company has its own guidelines, you can either claim back the difference between their guidelines and the government guidelines (if your employer’s allowance is less), or you’ll need to pay the difference in tax if your employer’s allowance is more than the national rate.

Being employed costs you money

There’s no way to avoid it – being employed costs you money. Putting the effort into filling out expense reports monthly, and claiming tax relief on an annual basis, can help you to reclaim a significant amount over the year – and that’s nothing to be sniffed at.

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