The tax system has been simplified from 6 April 2016. Now if you reimburse your employees for valid business expenses those amounts don’t have to be reported after the year end on a form P11D.
This simplification also applies to allowances paid to employees for the cost of meals taken while on business trips, and the mileage for those journeys. The meal allowances range from £5 to £25 depending on the time spent travelling. The mileage allowance is the same as has been used for years: 45p per mile, or 25p for miles in excess of 10,000 in one year. Different rates apply for company cars.
As an employer you should periodically check that a random selection of your employees has actually incurred some expenditure if they have claimed a meal allowance. A receipt is not necessarily required, but some contemporaneous record would be needed.
If you want to pay your employees different rates for meal allowances, you can agree a special scale with HMRC. We can help you do that.
To keep life simple use the scale rates for meals taken while travelling on business, but keep the receipts to show that some expense has been incurred. Mileage records should always be kept for business journeys, together with a note of the destination and reason for each journey, to prove it was business related.