Today’s changes to Revenue subsistence expenses rules fly in the face of road safety messages – and common sense.
Revenue have today tightened the circumstances in which an employee or company director can claim tax-free reimbursement of subsistence costs incurred in the course of their work.
From Wednesday, 1 July, an employee or director can only claim an overnight allowance when they spend the overnight at least 100km away from both their home, and their normal place of work.
In addition, the standard a day allowance (which can be claimed for absences of 5 hours or more) can only be claimed when the employee is more than 8km away from both their home and their normal place of work.
The first change has rather peculiar, and worrying implications.
It means, for example, that an employee or director living and working in Portlaoise cannot claim an overnight allowance for a hotel stay at Dublin Airport, (100.88km away, according to AA Route Planner) even if they have a 7am flight!
According to Route Planner, it takes 1 hour 11 minutes to drive from Portlaoise to Dublin Airport – and Aer Lingus are now advising their customers to check-in at least 2.5 hours before Dublin departures.
So Revenue are obviously expecting employees and directors to drive from the early hours of the morning rather than incur expenses, which then can’t be reimbursed tax-free by their employer. And if they are reimbursed, they will be taxed on the privilege!
And this means that the poor worker in Portlaoise could be getting into her car as early as 3.30am, in order to have enough time to drive the journey, park her car, catch her shuttle bus and check in at the airport before finally sitting down for a well-earned coffee. All this before her flight, onward travel, and a day’s work at her destination.
The situation is actually worse still, for workers who work within, but live outside, the 100km range of their temporary work location.
It’s not inconceivable that many workers could be driving, say, 140km to a temporary work location, and needing to set off at an unearthly hour to beat the morning traffic rush.
Meanwhile the Road Safety Authority remind us that “one in every five crashes on Irish roads could be caused by driver fatigue”
This crazy move puts lives at risk and should be reversed.