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Claiming Meal Allowance in Ireland

table set for a meal

Claiming Meal Allowance in Ireland

Can I claim Meal Allowance?  (known as Subsistence Allowance)


If you are an employee* and you answer YES to all the following conditions;


  1.  you’ve had to travel away from your normal place of work


  1.  your travel is necessary in the performance of your work duties


  1.  the travel is more than 8 KM (5 miles) away
    [you generally cannot include the distance from your ‘Home to Work’]


  1.  your time away is more than 5 hours.
    [you generally cannot include the time from your ‘Home to Work’]


Employees*  also include directors of companies who are PAYE workers


What if driving is part of the job?

Generally bus drivers, van and lorry drivers, travelling sales persons, repairs person or engineers etc will claim subsistence only. This is because employers usually provide them with a motor to do their job.


If the business journey starts or finishes at the employees home, Revenue will accept the ‘home journey‘ as a business journey – providing the home journey doesn’t cost any more compared to travelling to the ‘employers base’. (Revenue accepts the lesser)


Self employed individuals cannot claim Subsistence Allowances as they are not PAYE workers. Instead self employed individuals can claim fuel receipts, parking etc for travel. Meals are generally not allowed as an business expense.


Company directors can claim Subsistence Allowances as they are classed as PAYE workers and are subject to the same tax rules as employees re: the reimbursement of expenses of travel and subsistence.


Site-Based Employees who don’t have a fixed base in the Construction Industry can claim Travel and Subsistence Tax-Free up to €181.68 per week however, there are separate rules for these employees.
For further reading please see paragraph 4.7  Revenue’s Travel and Subsistence Expenses.



How to claim Meal/Subsistence Allowance ?


Subsistence Claim Form

Name & home address


of journey


for journey



Starting point

Finishing point

Basis of claim?

5-10  or  10+ hours away
Overnight away



  • Subsistence claim forms in Ireland should contain the above information:
  • Employers may pay the Meal/Subsistence allowances below to employees, but it’s not compulsory for them to do so.
    [Revenue have set out ‘Flat Rates‘ for Day and Overnight Subsistence, see table below.. ]
  • Employers must pay the employee* the amount on the Claim Form – Tax Free.
  • The subsistence payment can be included on the employees pay slip but Tax/USC/EE PRSI must not be deducted from the subsistence amount.
    The subsistence payment is not subject to ER PRSI.
  • Employers must retain these Subsistence Claim records for 6 years.


If you’d rather outsource your payroll – Payroll can manage all your payroll needs.


Subsistence – Day Rates

Day allowance  5 – 10 hours€16.29 per day
Day allowance for 10+ hours€39.08 per day

Subsistence – Overnight Rates – First 14 nights

Overnight allowance up to 24 hours€147.00 per day/night
Dublin allowance up to 24 hours€147.00 per day/night + €39.08 meals


Next 14 nights or for Continuous Absence

please visit Revenue’s Travel and Subsistence Expenses.


Above rates are effective from 1st December 2021


Picture of Geraldine Downey

Geraldine Downey

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