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Readers' forum : Flight of fancy

16 January 2018
Issue: 4631 / Categories: Forum & Feedback

Entitlement to claim the cost of an upgrade on business travel ticket.

My client is regularly sent abroad on business. His employer pays for an economy return ticket. My client sometimes pays for an upgrade to business class on the return journey so that he can do some work. Is he entitled to claim the cost of the upgrade?

In my view it is the fact that it is a business journey rather than ‘doing work on the flight’ that matters. There is an example ‘Fiona’ in HMRC’s booklet 490: employee travel. The text on page 37 under ‘Tax relief only for expenditure actually incurred’ appears to support the claim. However that concerns the slightly different situation in which the employer pays an allowance for standard rail travel and the employee chooses to buy a first-class ticket. I can imagine that a single payment by the employee might be treated differently from a two-part payment by employee and employer.


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