Tax Toolkit / Travel And Subsistence Rates

Overview

You can pay your employees' expenses when they travel on business journeys. You can also pay subsistence if employees are working away from their normal place of work.

You can repay your employees when they use their private cars, motorcycles or bicycles for business purposes.

This section explains the types of travel that can qualify for these repayments.

Normal place of work

The normal place of work is where your employee works on a day to day basis. This may not always be your (the employer’s) base. Your business may have additional bases elsewhere. In this case, the normal place of work may not be the same for all of your employees.

Usually, you will provide the facilities your employees need to perform their duties at the normal place of work.

Your employee's home is not regarded as their normal place of work. An exception to this is where there is an objective requirement that their duties be carried out at home.

Business journeys

Business travel is when your employee travels from one place of work to another place of work as part of their duties. This includes:

  • travel between Ireland and other countries
  • travel to a place that is not their normal place of work.

For business travel, the distance in kilometres is calculated by the lower of either:

  • the distance between your employee's home and the temporary place of work
  • the distance between your employee's normal place of work and the temporary place of work.

Travel to and from work is your employee's own private travel. It is not a business journey.

Reimbursement rates

Use of private vehicles

You can repay your employees when they use their private cars, motorcycles or bicycles for business purposes.

This payment can be made, tax free, by the amount of business kilometres travelled. You can either:

  • use the current schedule of Civil Service rates
  • use other rates not higher than Civil Service rates
  • repay the actual cost of the travel to your employee. This amount should not exceed the current Civil Service rates.

Your employee may make a claim to Revenue for any travel expenses that are not repaid by you. They should use the car expenses claim form.

Subsistence expenses

You may repay your employee expenses for their subsistence costs while they are temporarily away from their normal place of work.

For absences within the State this payment can be made, tax free, by either:

  • using the current schedule of Civil Service subsistence rates
  • repaying the actual cost of subsistence, at a rate not higher than the current Civil Service rates.

If you pay subsistence expenses at a rate higher than Civil Service rates, these must be approved by us in advance.

Civil Service rates

Civil Service motoring and bicycle rates

Cars (rate per kilometre)
Motor travel rates - from 1 April 2017

Band Distance Engine capacity up to 1200cc Engine capacity 1201cc - 1500cc Engine capacity 1501cc and over
Band 1 0 - 1,500 km 37.95 cent 39.86 cent 44.79 cent
Band 2 1,501 - 5,500 km 70.00 cent 73.21 cent 83.53 cent
Band 3 5,501 - 25,000 km 27.55 cent 29.03 cent 32.21 cent
Band 4 25,001 km and over 21.36 cent 22.23 cent 25.85 cent

The amount of mileage accumulated by an employee between 1 January 2017 and 1 April 2017 will not be altered by the introduction of these new bands and rates. Mileage to date will, however, count towards total mileage for the year.

For example, if you had claimed 1,400km on 1 April 2017, you would then move to the new Band 1. Once you have driven a further 100km, you would then move to Band 2.

Motorcycles (rate per kilometre)

Engine Capacity: Distance Rate per Kilometre
Up to 150cc Up to 6,437 km 14.48 cent
Up to 150cc 6,438 km and over 9.37 cent
151cc to 250 cc Up to 6,437 km 20.10 cent
151cc to 250 cc 6,438 km and over 13.31 cent
251 cc to 600 cc Up to 6,437 km 23.72 cent
251 cc to 600 cc 6,438 km and over 15.29 cent
601cc and over Up to 6,437 km 28.59 cent
601cc and over 6,438 km and over 17.60 cent

Bicycles (rate per kilometre)

Bicycle Rate per Km 8 cent

Civil Service subsistence rates

Rates for absences within the State

Domestic overnight subsistence rates (from 1 April 2017)

Normal Rate €147.00
Reduced Rate €132.30
Detention Rate €73.50

The period of subsistence at any one location is limited to six months.

Overnight allowance

Overnight allowance covers an overnight absence of up to 24 hours. This must be at least 100km from the employee's home and their normal place of work.

Normal Rate is for absences up to 14 nights.

Reduced Rate covers the next 14 nights.

Detention Rate covers each of the next 28 nights.

For absences over 56 nights, you must make an application to Revenue.

Day allowances

There are two categories, five to ten hours and over ten hours absence. The absence must be outside eight kilometres of the employee's home or normal place of work (five kilometres prior to 1 April 2017).

Domestic day subsistence rates (from 1 October 2018)

Ten hours or more €36.97
Reduced Rate €15.41

Short term absence - These rates can be used for a temporary absence of up to six months where your employee is working abroad.

Subsistence rates for short term absences

Period of assignment abroad % of subsistence rate
First month 100%
Second and third month 75%
Fourth, fifth and sixth month 50%

Long term absence

A long term absence will be more than six months.

For the first month of the absence you can allow subsistence for the overnight rate. This is to facilitate the employee to find self catering accommodation.

For the remainder of the absence you can allow subsistence costs and a portion of the ten hour day rate. The subsistence cost can cover the cost of reasonable accommodation. You can allow 50% of the day rate (ten hours) for the location.

Emergency travel

If you repay your employee the expenses of travelling to and from their normal place of work, they must pay tax on this payment.

They must also pay tax on journeys to work in 'on call' situations.

Your employee may need to work outside their normal working hours to deal with emergencies which require their immediate attention. You may repay these travel expenses tax free. This can include the cost of taxis, or mileage expenses, using Civil Service rates.

You may repay expenses for a maximum of 60 such emergencies per year.

An emergency does not include:

  • replacing a member of staff who fails to attend work
  • assisting with an increased volume of work
  • attending a non-emergency or other routine event.

Site-based employees

Site-based employees do not have a fixed base and, in the course of their employment, perform their work duties at different locations. These duties generally last for periods longer than one day.

You can pay your employees expenses of travel and subsistence, not exceeding the approved rate (currently €181.60 per week), except where either:

  • your employee does not have to pay to travel to and from the site (for example, if you provide the transport)
  • you provide your employee with board and lodgings
  • your employee was recruited to work at one site only.

In order to qualify for these expenses the employee must be working at a site 32km (20 miles) or more from your base.

Eating on site

You may pay an ‘eating on site’ allowance, tax free, to site-based employees in some sectors of the economy if:

  • you do not provide facilities for making tea, coffee, or other refreshments
  • your employee does not receive any other form of tax-free subsistence payment
  • your employee works on the site for at least 1.5 hours before and 1.5 hours after their normal lunch break
  • you pay a maximum allowance of €5 per day.
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