A new measure to remove the requirement for employers to check receipts for expense claims made by employees using the HMRC benchmark scale rates or overseas scale rates is to be introduced. The change will be included in the Finance Bill 2018-19.
The benchmark scale rates can be used by employers to reimburse staff for subsistence expenses when they are travelling on business away from their normal workplace. HMRC lists maximum rates, but employers can choose to pay less if they so wish. The new legislation will also place the concessionary accommodation and subsistence overseas scale rates on a statutory basis and the same rules will apply. The overseas scale rates are similar to the benchmark scale rates but take into account the cost of subsistence overseas including hotel accommodation etc and are calculated on a country-by-country basis.
From April 2019, employers will only be required to ensure that employees are undertaking qualifying business travel. This measure was first announced at Autumn Budget 2017 and should create ongoing administrative savings for many businesses. The new legislation will not stop employers checking employee receipts when reimbursing in this way for their own purposes. The proposed legislation does not apply to payments or reimbursements made under bespoke scale rate payments or industry-wide rates.