Claiming food as a business expense
Correctly claim food and drink expenses
Claiming food as a business expense through a limited company can be very complicated as there are so many factors that come into play. We’ve made a quick 3-step model that should help you make the correct choice:
1. Are you eating alone?
If yes, move to question 2.
If no, then your food probably can’t be claimed as a normal food expense. If you’re having a meal with clients or potential clients this is business entertaining and can be claimed as a business expense but it won’t reduce your tax bill. If it’s an employee you could claim it as staff entertaining but this needs to meet other criteria in order to avoid national insurance charges.
2. Where you at your permanent place of work or travelling between home and your permanent place of work?
If yes, then you can’t claim the food.
If no, then move to question 3.
If you’re unsure whether somewhere constitutes as a permanent place of work you can read our article here than should help you out.
3. Is the reason you aren’t at home or at your permanent place of work business-related?
If yes, then you can claim the food.
If no, then you can’t claim the food even if you’re working at the time. So for example, if you stay with a friend for a few days and go to a coffee shop to get some work done you can’t claim for food or drink bought there.
If you’re operating as a sole trader or partnership it’s a little harder to claim food as a business expense but if you meet one of the following criteria you can claim it:
· You need to stay away from home overnight for work (attending a conference abroad, attending a meeting with an overseas client…)
· This is a one-off trip that is outside your normal working pattern (visiting a client, going on a training course…)
· You need to travel for work (touring comedian, long-distance courier…)