Expenses and benefits: cash sum payments to employees

As always the starting point for all questions relating to employee benefits is A to Z on gov website, link given below:


The question in hand, an employer a construction company (shop fitters) gives cash sums to employees when they are staying overnight away from home for accommodation  and meals

C – Cash Sum payments to employees


I have listed below two main types of expenses paid by employers – private and business. Business expenses have been further categorised in four types.

  Type Description Tax Liability
A Private expense You pay employees private expense. Always considered as employee earnings. Tax + NIC
B Business Expenses
1 Reimbursement of actual expenses You pay expenses on submission of expenses receipts by employees. You will need to apply for exemption with HMRC.

The Application form is simple with additional guidance.

No Tax or NIC
2 Round  Sum Allowances You pay an employee regardless of how they spend the allowance. Tax on full amount

NIC :  Allowance minus expenses

3 Scale rate payments You pay at a level agreed with HMRC. The employee has to actually spend the scale rate payment on business expenses.


Again the process of applying for exemption is same as in point 1.



No Tax or NIC
4 Special arrangements with HMRC


Certain employments have special rules for taxation of employment income see EIM 50000 onwards

Construction industry workers are covered under a special scheme – `Working rule agreements` see below EIM 71300. No Tax or NIC for payments up till the approved rates

EIM 71300: working rule agreements

  • Applies to employees in construction and allied industries.
  • Applies only to travel and lodging allowances.
  • Apply only were payments made according to strict terms and conditions of this rule, for these details go to HMRC manual EIM 71300.
  • Neither employer nor the employee need to be a member of any federation or trade union.



It’s advisable to apply for scale-rate payments exemption with HMRC as per point 3.


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