The cost of lunch can be claimed when you are working at a temporary workplace.
A temporary workplace is one where you go to perform a task of limited duration or for a temporary purpose.
The rules regarding temporary workplaces are based on how long you are to be based at one site or expect to be based at the site. In most cases a temporary workplace is one where you are not, and do not expect to be at the site for more than 24 months.
If you are new to contracting and have just signed your first contract for 12 months then you can claim the travel and subsistence costs. When this contract nears the end, the client offers to extend it for another 12 months. At this point you EXPECT to be there for 24 months in total and must stop claiming travel and subsistence costs right away. If instead you asked for an 11 month contract extension you would only expect to be there for 23 months in total so could continue to claim your travel and subsistence expenses.
The subsistence must be in the form of a pre-packed sandwich or a meal at a cafe, the cost would not be allowable if you were to simply reimburse yourself for the ingredients to prepare your own packed lunch.
Meals at restaurants would be classed as business entertainment and not tax deductible.
If you are staying overnight on business away from home at a temporary workplace, you may also claim for the provision of breakfast, an evening meal and a flat rate subsistence allowance of £5 per night (£10 per night if working overseas) to cover small personal expenses such as laundry, newspapers etc – you do not have to have receipts for the overnight flat rate but you must have receipts for all subsistence expenses.
If you have any questions regarding this please do get in touch. by phone on 0845 834 0269 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org