If your company is operating in Ireland and your employees are traveling for business, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the current rates of subsistence allowance in the country.
Do you know exactly how much you should reimburse employees when they’re away from their normal place of work?
Do you know the rates for day and overnight allowance?
Do you know how to calculate subsistence allowance when employees travel abroad?
To answer those questions and help you navigate subsistence allowances in Ireland, we’ve created this quick guide.
In it, you’ll find all the essential details on what your employees can claim when traveling for work, how to best manage their travel expenses, and the Irish subsistence rates in 2023.
What is subsistence allowance (also known as “meal allowance”) and how does it work?
Subsistence allowance is paid by employers to cover the daily expenses of employees who are away from their usual place of work. Although subsistence allowance is sometimes referred to as “meal allowance”, it doesn’t cover only meal costs; it usually covers expenses related to:
- Meals and drinks
- Car parking
- Other expenses related to business travel
The daily allowance may vary based on the location and duration of the trip.
Mileage allowance, on the other hand, is a separate type of allowance that covers expenses incurred by employees when using their personal vehicles for official business trips. Mileage rates depend on the total distance traveled and also on the type of vehicle and its engine capacity (rates aren’t the same for vehicles with an engine capacity up to 1200cc compared to those with engine capacity 1201cc - 1500cc, for example).
Employees should provide receipts to support their reimbursement claims for subsistence and mileage allowances; in Ireland, these cannot be higher than the current Civil Service rates.
What are the subsistence allowance rates in Ireland for 2023?
In Ireland, Revenue (the Irish Tax and Customs office) sets the standard subsistence allowance rates for employees traveling for work. Although these are referred to as “Civil service rates”, they’re also used by the private sector, as they cap the maximum amount of tax-free money that an employee can claim for their expenses while on a business trip.
Below, you can see the 2023 subsistence rates for business journeys in Ireland and abroad.
Domestic subsistence allowance rates
You need to reimburse your employees’ subsistence expenses while they are on temporary work assignments away from their usual workplace; for this, you can either:
- Adhere to the current Civil Service subsistence rates
- Reimburse the actual costs incurred, provided they do not exceed the current Civil Service rates.
Let’s see what the rates and the different categories are.
Domestic overnight subsistence rates
Overnight subsistence rates apply when employees travel for work overnight and to a location that’s 100 km or more from their home or workplace.
These standard domestic subsistence rates represent the maximum amount of money that an employee can claim tax-free for their necessary expenses while on a business trip and are based on the assignment’s duration:
- For assignments of up to 14 nights, the normal rate applies
- For the next 14 nights, the reduced rate applies
- The detention rate covers the next 28 nights
For assignments that are longer than 56 nights, you must check with Revenue whether subsistence expenses can still be claimed tax-free. Employees cannot stay longer than 6 months at any one location when claiming subsistence allowance.
Additionally, when staying overnight in Dublin, employees can claim expenses based on a special Vouched Accomodation Rate (VA), which is, as follows:
|Type of expense||Rate|
|Vouched cost of accommodation||Up to €167.00|
|Total||Up to €206.08|
The above domestic accommodation and meal allowance rates were last updated on 1st September 2022 to reflect the increases in Irish business travel costs.
Domestic daily subsistence rates
Domestic day subsistence rates apply when an employee needs to work on an assignment that’s more than 8 km away from their home or office and depends on its length (i.e. hour rates apply).
|Period of assignment||Rate|
|Between five and ten hours||€16.29|
|Ten hours or more||€39.08|
Overnight and day allowances can be claimed simultaneously if the employee works for more than 5 hours on the following day.
Foreign subsistence allowance rates
Civil service subsistence allowance rates for foreign countries vary by country and duration and cover reasonable accommodation and meal costs.
Here are some common destinations and the hour and day rates for each:
Britain and Northern Ireland (in GBP)
|Overnight rate||Vouched accommodation rate||10 hours||5 hours|
European Union (in EUR)
|Overnight rate||Vouched accommodation rate||10 hours||5 hours|
|Brussels||Vouched cost of room + the VA rate is applicable||120.75||80.50||40.25|
|Elsewhere||Room plus 98.00||98.00||65.33||32.67|
You can see the full list of countries and subsistence allowance rates on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, in their Circular 07/2017.
Subsistence allowance rates in Ireland: Key takeaways
Travel and subsistence allowance rates in Ireland depend on the location and duration of each work assignment away from the employee’s home or workplace; the Civil service subsistence rates reflect the maximum amount of subsistence allowance employees can claim tax-free.
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