Apply for a Daily Self Employed Food Allowance from HMRC (2023)

Author: Jibran QureshiTips for small businesses

If you are self-employed, you may be able to claim tax credits for everyday expenses. One such expense is the Food Allowance offered by HMRC, where the self-employed can claim reimbursement of daily food expenses. As a self-employed person, when preparing a self-assessment tax return, you may be able to claim a food allowance offered by HMRC as a tax relief.


What is freelance work?

Self-employment occurs when people work for themselves, not for an employer, and are paid for the work they do. Each agency defines self-employment in its own way, but generally freelancers are people who can decide when, where and how much they want to work.

Self-employment typically means you manage the workload and future success of your business. You deal directly with clients and make sure they are happy with your work. Many people choose to be self-employed because they enjoy the freedom. The self-employed include contractors, directors of limited liability companies, business partners and business owners.

Self-employment refers to people who decide to work for themselves and run their own business. According to 2016 statistics, there are around 14 million self-employed people in the UK. People can work for themselves as a sole proprietor or partnerlimited liability companybut not through incorporated or unlimited liability companies.

The difference between business partners and business owners

Business partners are often misinterpreted as business owners. A business partner is a person involved in all aspects of related work, such as managing, developing or maintaining a business or venture. They are responsible for their own actions and the actions of everyone else working on the project. Technically, he can be an investor or a co-owner.

A business owner, on the other hand, is the owner of the business, but doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with its day-to-day operations. They provide financial support and are sometimes involved in major decisions that can significantly influence its direction (eg product line/marketing strategy, etc.). Owners often hire people to handle these key areas to focus on more regulatory functions such as earnings and cash flow management. In addition, two types of self-employment are distinguished, such as:

Apply for a Daily Self Employed Food Allowance from HMRC (1)

independent contractors:

Independent contractors have their own companies and are not part of any large organization. They are paid for specific projects or services and do not receive benefits such as a fixed salary or social security contributions like regular employees.

For example, a lawyer or accountant often charges by the hour for their expertise. Another example of independent contractors are plumbers, electricians and consultants. Independent contractors can also work for other companies or businesses on a contract basis without being employed.

Sole proprietors or landlords:

Sole proprietors or business owners are self-employed people who run independent businesses and take personal responsibility rather than working for someone else. Sometimes this involves expanding the business by hiring people to help with various projects and tasks.

Why do most people choose self-employment?

The main reason for becoming self-employed are numerous advantages, such as:

Flexible working hours:

One of the main benefits of being self-employed is that your work and personal life schedule is smoother than a typical 8-hour job.

work wherever you want:

Being a boss is a lot of fun and allows freelancers to experience the freedom of working from anywhere.

Tax benefits:

To encourage self-employment, the UK government grants various tax credits to the self-employed.

Control over your income:

Being self-employed has many advantages. First, self-employed workers have the freedom and power to decide how much of their earnings they take home. This is a great motivation to expand your business and earn more money.

(Video) Food Allowance As Claimable Expense

Choose the people you work with:

Self-employment gives you the chance to choose who you want to work with and thus avoid being stuck with a co-worker who doesn't fit your work style.

Acceptable expenses for self-employed workers

Self-employment has its perks, but on the other hand, it means taking risks and costs that you don't incur when working for someone else. Allows expenses that can only be considered “acceptable” if they are related to business activities. Allowable expenses include:


suppose sostart a businessand you rented office space to run your business. In this case, the UK government allows you to deduct the cost of rent paid in that year. Also, if any equipment was used, you can also deduct the cost of that equipment.

travel costs:

The cost of the trip includes hiring a taxi or van, including bus, train or plane costs. All these costs are travel costs and are eligible expenses.

Contributions to health insurance:

You can deduct health insurance costs from your expenses and treat insurance as a deductible expense.

Publications and Subscriptions:

If someone owns a business, this can be time and energy consuming. But there are still many other expenses that need to be billed each month that are clearly related to your business. One of these expenses is subscriptions to specialized magazines, periodicals and books aimed directly at the areas of management and professional development.

For example, if a person runs a restaurant and subscribes to weekly cooking magazines or newspapers about the restaurant industry. These expenses will only be deductible because they are directly related to the activity in question.


You need to know that credit card purchases and interest are not tax deductible. Despite this, interest on a bank loan is 100% tax deductible.


In the past, self-employed people were not allowed to claim food allowance because HMRC decided that everyone should eat to live. As a result, HMRC deducted these expenses from its receipts. However, HMRC officially changed its mind on this condition and removed this obstacle that allowed self-employed workers to apply for food allowance.

What are the average daily food and beverage costs for self-employed workers?

As a self-employed person, you can include certain allowable expenses in your claim when traveling on business. A regular meal ordered at a restaurant will not be one of these expenses unless you order a meal while on a business trip.

The tax-free amount may vary depending on your situation. For example, suppose you are traveling for work and can demonstrate that the amount you paid for is considered an extravagant meal, not everyday food consumption for business purposes. In this case, HMRC will allow you to deduct 50% of the cost of the meal, provided you keep some supporting documentation.

On the other hand, HMRC will also award 50% of the standard meal allowance if actual meal bills are presented with details of when, where and why you are traveling on business.

Food rules are like travel expenses - if it's not a business, you have no right to claim it. For example, having a meal at your desk does not count as a business expense. Therefore, it is important to check whether a particular item is tax deductible when you purchase food on behalf of your business.

When can you apply for food allowance?

One scenario that could be considered food stamps is when you are away from home for one night and go to work the next day to run your business. However, you can only apply for an eligible expense if it meets the following conditions:

  • Food and beverage costs arise during business travel.
  • As part of your job, you travel to different places.
  • Overnight on official travel.

HMRC has revised its self-employed food subsidy policy. It now also includes people who deliberately do not use hotels, for example taxi drivers and taxi drivers who sleep in their taxis and may claim a food subsidy as they do not receive a housing subsidy. Also, HMRC lists situations where you are with someone you know (a friend) whilst traveling and eating out.

However, reporting expenses is difficult as HMRC has stated that self-employed persons can only claim expenses for business purposes. HMRC has launched an advisory system to compare scale rates to help determine acceptable costs for a business, such as:


Breakfast prices:

If you leave the house earlier than usual and before 6am you can claim the standard price of £5.

Price for a meal:

You can claim the standard fee of £5 if you are away from home or your usual place of work for more than 5 hours.

Price for two meals:

The standard fee of £10 is payable if you are away from home or your usual place of work for at least 10 hours.

Evening meal fee:

If you work late outside normal working hours, you are entitled to a fee of up to £15.

The fact is that HMRC is more generous to employees than the self-employed when it comes to food stamps. Therefore, sometimes employees may receive a meal as part of an employee package.

To claim food and beverage expenses, it is always better to list the full amount or a single amount of your entire food bill rather than listing all foods. However, even if you enter just one amount, you must specify all expenses accurately. Also, receipts for food bills should be kept.

You can use the small self-employment page on your income tax return (SA103S) to tell HMRC whether your income is within £85,000.

If there is no other salary available and your company's total annual turnover is more than £85,000. In this case, you must declare your actual expenses on the self-employed (full-time) work pages. You may also use the full version of the self-employment companion pages (SA103F).

Final thoughts:

HMRC has precise and strict criteria for tax credits. For example, you can claim expenses wholly and solely for business purposes, which can sometimes be difficult to prove.

Self-employed workers often run the business on their own terms, but this is not always the liability company owners. So if you're not on the right page about the HMRC rules they could make things difficult if they find out.

Therefore, it is important to understand the rules for claiming expenses as they differ depending on whether you are disabled or not.sole proprietorship or limited liability company.

You can only claim food and beverage expenses if they are business related. Note, however, that these claims are only acceptable in some situations.

Common questions

How much can I apply for the meal subsidy?

Answer: According to HMRC rates, the maximum amount of subsidy you are entitled to is:
5 hours for £5
10 hours for £10
15 hours for £25

When does a meal become a business expense?

(Video) What expenses can I include in my Self Assessment tax return?

If food is related to a business or trade, it is considered a business expense and may be deducted as a deduction.

Are food and beverage expenses acceptable?

HMRC believes that you buy this meal on a specific occasion when traveling on business and it is an extra expense to your daily expenses. Therefore, it can be included in tax costs as an acceptable company expense.

How long do self-employed people have to keep receipts?

Self-employed workers must keep records for at least five years after the application deadlineon january 31.

What receipts should you keep if you are self-employed?

Keep a record of all your product or inventory-related receipts, including checkbooks, invoices, cash registers, and bank statements.

Am I entitled to food allowance if I am self-employed?

Yes, only if you are self-employed and can prove that it is an expense for the company.

Jibrana Qureshiego

Apply for a Daily Self Employed Food Allowance from HMRC (2)

Managing Director

+44 (0)207 117 2639

(Video) How To Claim Mileage Allowance Expenses - Explained In Under 60 Seconds

Author's biography

Jibran Qureshi FCCA is the General Manager of Clear House Accountants and has over 10 years of practice and experience in various industries. Jibran's background includes a Masters in Financial Strategy from the University of Oxford and an Executive MBA from Hult International Business School. His expertise in financial strategy, tax planning, operational consulting and performance reporting define his conscientious approach to leading Clear House and its clients into the future. It was this skill that made him one of Enterprise Nation's top 50 consultants.

Jibran is driven by his passion for helping businesses. He unequivocally believes that, as business advisors and accountants to our clients, it is our duty to work with them as business partners. It is our responsibility as professionals to help our clients navigate the complexities of constant change and the resulting consequences.

Over the last decade, disruptive disruptions have changed the way companies work – from cloud software, innovative business models to artificial intelligence and machine learning, affecting how companies operate, grow and grow.

Jibran recognized the need to sustainably manage these outages early on and has turned Clear House accountants not only into compliance professionals, but also into consultants who help build complex ecosystems around cloud accounting software, provide financial support, help manage innovative tax schemes, configure and implement complex strategic plans, and much more. This allows your customers to thrive, not just survive.

Jibran has developed his primary role as General Manager to develop Clear House's capabilities so that it can deliver value to its clients. He strongly believes this can be done through consistent, high-level training, building the right tools and creating action plans to help companies deal with potential disruptions. He envisions that every customer who joins the team will receive maximum value with integration, ongoing services and the right toolset to help them become the best in the world.

You might also want to read:

Streamlined expenses for self-employed workers

Problems for self-employed workers

VAT on food and its future


1. Self Employed Expenses Tips: Travel and Subsistence
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2. How do I use the HMRC app to claim a tax refund?
3. Self Employed | How to Register for Self Assessment Made Simple (Step by Step Tutorial)
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4. Declaring employment income on the 21/22 self assessment tax return
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6. Crazy Things You Can Claim Back As Business Expenses!!
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