Is there somewhere I can get clear guidelines on allowable expenses?

Hi all,
I work for a limited company and we pay our Salespeople any travel and subsistence expenses they incur (thankfully I don't usually have to deal with these but had to cover for an absent colleague recently). One of the Salespeople travels in Europe visiting clients. She prefers to stay in hotels that have cooking facilities so she buys groceries and cooks her own meals. Among the grocery receipts were items such as multiple packets of chewing gum and about eight bars of chocolate and dental floss. I see these items as personal expenses rather than business expenses and I asked her to deduct them from her claim. That didn't go down well. I tried to explain the "wholly, exclusively necessarily etc" guideline but that didn't help.
Another issue, she buys diet shakes here in the UK and takes them with her on business trips. She is claiming for these as subsitence too as she says they are meal replacements while she's travelling.
If anyone has any advice or can point me to some clear guidelines that I can pass to the Sales Team I'd be very grateful.


  • Norvydas
    Norvydas MAAT Posts: 272 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?

    Look on gov website for guidelines in regards of expenses, even better give a call to HMRC, speak with them about this and ask for their opinion, whatever opinion they give to you, ask them to write this in letter and post it to you so you can show your employee.
    Kind Regards,

    Norvydas Valavicius.
  • TGMD
    TGMD MAAT Posts: 3
    Thank you
  • yna
    yna Registered Posts: 6
    Hello TGMD,

    I think the diet shakes and the chocolate are allowables as they will be considered as travel food and drinks.
    However the dental floss and the chewing gum are not allowable for taxe purposes.

    I would like you please if you got an ansewer from HMRC to share it with us.

    Thank you
  • crispy
    crispy Registered Posts: 465 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?

    As this is a Ltd company would it not be down to a Manager or whoever authorises your expense claims to determine whether these items are reimbursable or not ?

    As for the Tax issue my understanding that is for a sole trader / partnership any personal expenses are disallowed whereas with a Ltd company there are no adjustments for private expenditure however the individual instead will be taxed as employment income.

    I guess the question is has the expenditure been incurred as a direct result of the business travel or would the items have been purchased regardless of whether they were travelling or not.
  • TGMD
    TGMD MAAT Posts: 3
    Hi - yes, the diet shakes are tricky because she sometimes has them in the office which means she purchases them whether she travels or not. i.e. they may not be an out of pocket expense. We're in the process are bringing in a new policy but I'm sure there will always be something that isn't clear cut.
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