Working away from home overnight -what can you claim for as a contractor as a genuine business expense? While you are contracting, you may, from time to time, need to stay away from home overnight. You may also obtain a contract that is too far to travel to and from each day. Therefore, you may decide to stay away from home during the week.
The choice of accommodation
Your choice of accommodation when working away from home overnight can range from a hotel or B&B, or you may even rent a property. Therefore, when staying away from home overnight, what are you able to claim as business expenses?
Why you might stay away overnight for work reasons
Choosing to stay overnight would usually be if your contract site is too far away to travel back home from each day. However, you could also claim for costs staying away overnight if you attended a training course or business related seminar.
What can I claim for?
The good news is you can claim for the costs that get you to and from the contract location. This includes if you are working abroad. These will include mileage, rail fares, flights, and other public transport as well as food costs. There is also a difference between how business meals and meals that are of an entertaining type nature are treated for tax purposes. All of the travelling type costs that you can claim are, subject to not falling foul of the two-year rule.
Depending upon the type of work that you do, you may be able to claim for your business clothing however, there are certain rules on what you can claim.
I also have a separate guide that covers relocation costs -this covers where you are actually moving your primary place of residence.
If you are thinking about contracting abroad there are certain things to consider.
If you stay in a hotel or B&B
If you are staying in a hotel or B&B, you can claim your accommodation costs.
What’s more, you can also claim for your meals –breakfast, dinner, and evening meal while working away.
If you rent a property
If you are renting a property, you can claim for the rent, and you should aim to get the tenancy agreement in your company’s name.
You can also claim for the council tax and utility bills, and you should also try and get these bills in your company’s name too.
You can claim for your meals if you are eating out.
Alternatively, if you are having your meals at your rental accommodation, you can claim for your shopping bills. Please be careful not to include any personal items on your shopping bills. If you do, you will need to split these out.
As part of your accounting records, you should obtain receipts or invoices for accommodation costs. Furthermore, you should also obtain receipts for any other expenses that you claim while you work away.
Personal Incidental Expenses (PIEs)
Whether you are staying in a hotel or B&B or renting somewhere, you can also claim for Personal Incidental Expenses (PIEs). The rates for PIEs are £5 per night in the UK and £10 per night outside the UK.
PIEs are an allowance to cover sundry expenses while away, such as coffees, phone calls home, and laundry.
You do not need to get receipts for expenses that are covered by PIEs.
In all cases when you claim for business expenses, they should be `reasonable’ and not excessive.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on