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Claiming flat rates for meals

Claiming flat rate meals, yes or no?

We don’t advise clients to claim flat rates for the following reasons:

  • You still need to evidence the amounts claimed, so you would need to be able to present all receipts;
  • You need to prove to the HMRC that you have credible record keeping;
  • You must operate a checking service;
  • The flat rate paid should not be more than the actual expenses incurred by the employee/director (in total over a period);
  • You could end up reimbursing less than what’s actually been incurred;
  • For small businesses with not many employees, it does not make sense to claim flat rates.

It is much easier to just pay for expenses with the business bank card and keeping the receipts in an envelope per company financial year.

Please note that the HMRC can go back 6 years in case of an enquiry. You should therefore keep all invoices and receipts in a safe place for this period of time.

You can see these HMRC links for more info:

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