Travel and Subsistence Expenses

Call our best advice team free on mobileSorry, we are currently closed.
Please email us or Request a callback
Whether you want to ring us, request a callback or chat online with our experts rest assured that no matter how you get in touch, you'll always get the best advice

As an umbrella employee, there are instances in which you may be able to enjoy tax relief on the cost of travel and subsistence. However, the changes announced in 2016 means that the rules now work a little differently.

As these changes caused some confusion amongst contractors, our guide is here to explain whether you’re entitled to tax relief and how you can claim.

What is travel and subsistence?

Travel and subsistence expenses relate to the costs incurred during business travel, accommodation and meals. Since subsistence is considered as a cost associated with business-related travel, it is treated in the same category.

You can see a full list of allowable expenses from HMRC.

Claiming travel and subsistence expenses as an umbrella employee

HMRC changed the rules because they believed that umbrella employers were treating their contractors in the same manner as full-time employees. Since employees can’t claim expenses, this was deemed unfair.

The rules dictate that in order for you to enjoy tax relief, your contract cannot fall under the SDC banner - you will need to assess whether your assignment falls under supervision, direction or control. HMRC will automatically classify every umbrella contractor under SDC unless you can provide evidence otherwise.

What is Supervision, Direction and Control?

HMRC’s SDC test is used to determine employment status and the definitions below should serve as a guideline:

  • Supervision: Whereby someone overseas another person’s work to ensure that it’s being done to the agreed standards.
  • Direction: Whereby someone makes another person do their work in a certain way by providing instructions, guidance and/or advice.
  • Control: Whereby someone can tell a worker how they do the work. This also includes the power to move the worker from task to task.

If you’re still unsure, you can find more details in our guide to SDC.

Jargon buster

  • T&S: Refers to your travel and subsistence expenses
  • SDC: Refers to supervision, direction or control (or the right of in the manner in which you perform your work)
  • NIC: National Insurance Contributions

What expenses can I claim for?

If you’re unsure what you can claim as an umbrella company, consult our table below:

Type of expense If SDC applies If SDC does not apply
Client billable expenses – Expenses that the agency or end client has agreed to pay to cover the costs incurred on their behalf Tax and National Insurance contributions paid free by Parasol (excludes ordinary commuting to and from home) Tax and NIC paid to you free by Parasol
Business costs – Electronic equipment, training, manuals and textbooks, parking, etc. Tax and NIC paid to you free by Parasol Tax and NIC paid to you free by Parasol
Mileage allowance – Cars, bicycles, motorbikes and vans Not paid to you by Parasol, but log for your records on MyParasol portal Tax and NIC paid to you free by Parasol