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Can you claim food expenses if Self-employed?

Did you know that if you’re self-employed you might be able to claim back some of the money you spend on food? The self-employed food expenses can be claimed as a business expense on your Self Assessment tax return. But you can’t just claim everything you eat.

Food allowance for self-employed was not allowed earlier because HMRC was of the view that everyone must eat in order to live and thus it was not an allowable expense. HMRC has reviewed its policy of food allowance for the self-employed and has now included the traders who don’t use hotels such as cab or taxi drivers who sleep in their taxis and thus they can also claim the cost of their meals even if they are not claiming the cost of accommodation, because they are not using one.

Being a self-employed, you are allowed to include your food and drink bills as allowable expenses, provided that the expense is done while you are on a business trip. However, you cannot claim the same if you indulged your meals in a lavish or extravagant way.

One of the allowable scenarios of food or meals claim would be if you are staying away from home overnight to work the next day in order to conduct the business and thus in order to claim self-employed daily subsistence allowance as an allowable expense, it must meet below mentioned conditions:

- The expenses incurred on foods and drinks must be during your business travel only

- You travel to the place or the location occasionally and not on regular basis as a part of your business.

- You stay overnight on a business trip.

As with all HMRC allowable expenses, there are limits to what you can claim as part of your business trip subsistence costs. Any food and drink expenses you incur while travelling for business must be reasonable, and you should be able to prove this, so you should keep receipts of the food and drinks bill.

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