29 August 2023

The latest Quick Poll is now available on the CIPP’s news page. HMRC offers a tax relief for employers who provide subsidised meals for employees from an on-site canteen or business premise. The CIPP want to know if you / your clients currently make use of this tax exemption, or have you done so in the past.   

Subsidised or free meals at work can be a magnet for employee retention and can also be a way to help them with the rising cost of living. You don’t have to report anything to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or pay tax and National Insurance (NI) if you offer all your employees:

  • free or subsidised meals of a reasonable value at a workplace canteen
  • vouchers that cover the cost of buying these meals.

The Section 317 ITEPA 2003 exemption (see EIM21671) applies if all employees of the employer concerned may obtain a free or subsidised meal. The exemption covers most of the ways in which a company might provide free or subsidised meals for its directors or employees, either in a canteen or on the business premises, so long as meals or meal vouchers are available for the staff generally.

If the exemption applies then all meals on a reasonable scale provided on the employer’s premises are exempt from tax. This means that if all employees may get a free or subsidised meal on the employer’s premises or in a canteen, or meal vouchers, then working lunches on a reasonable scale, provided on the employer’s premises, will also be exempt even if not all of the employees get the working lunches.

Have your say and take part in the Quick Poll now. The Quick Poll should take less than a minute to respond to, and we would like to thank you in advance for your participation.

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