The diet deduction to which the self-employed are entitled: How should they manage it with the Treasury?

The diet deduction to which the self-employed are entitled: How should they manage it with the Treasury?

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There are many self-employed people who are forced to eat away from home on a daily basis, turning this obligation into an important cost for its activity. The Law of Urgent Reforms of Self-Employment allowed professionals expenses are deducted from your daily maintenance allowance, inside or outside of Spain. In addition, the Supreme Court recently endorsed and simplified the way in which meal expenses with clients must be justified.

Despite the fact that the law has been in force since 2018, there are many self-employed workers who are unaware of this right or who they know it but they are not clear about how the expenses should be justified. The Tax Agency establishes a series of requirements that, if not met, could imply a significant sanction for the self-employed.

“According to the law, maintenance expenses of the self-employed in the development of their economic activity are deductible as long as they occur in restaurant and hotel establishments and are paid using any means of electronic payment,” explained Joaquina Rueda from the JraEconomistas consultancy.

What maximum amounts can the self-employed deduct?

Self-employed workers have the right to deduct breakfast, lunch and dinner that they make during the working days, although they cannot exceed the maximum amount established by the Treasury. “The most common is that these expenses occur from Monday to Friday, although that does not prevent can also take place on weekendsas long as it is justified that the corresponding meal was made for work reasons, “he explained.

Not only can payments made in Spain be deducted, but Expenses paid outside the national territory can also be deducted, as long as the reason for the displacement is related to the activity. The amounts set by the Administration are:

  • A maximum of €26.67 per day for meals that take place within the national territory
  • A maximum of 48.08 euros per day for meals that take place outside the national territory
  • A maximum of 53.67 euros per day for spending the night in Spain outside the town to which the self-employed person belongs
  • A maximum of €91.35 per day for spending the night outside of Spain

Therefore, in the event that a self-employed person who works from Monday to Friday and eats the three meals away from home for work reasons, A maximum of 133.35 euros per week, 533.4 euros per month and 6,400.8 per year may be deducted, although it must be taken into account that there may be vacation days in which the self-employed person should not spend allowances. This amount increases if the work has been carried out outside the national territory or if it has been essential to sleep away from home one night because hotel expenses are added.

The self-employed must meet five requirements to be able to deduct the diets

The possibility that the self-employed can deduct daily allowances has been a great advance for the group, although it has been something “very difficult to achieve”, as sources from the National Federation of Self-Employed Associations (ATA) explained to this newspaper. . “The Administration had to find a way for self-employed workers to reliably demonstrate that they ate outside their home.” Therefore, one of the main requirements imposed by the Treasury is that Meals are always served in catering establishmentsthat is, only those payments made in bars or restaurants will be valid.

The other essential requirement is that payment is made electronically, or what is the same, that meals are paid for by card, through the contactless method or another electronic mechanism. This allows the Tax Agency to be aware of all the transaction details because they will appear on your account statement. “It is essential that the self-employed person uses a card or payment method that is in his name, since otherwise the Treasury could require more information,” they added from ATA. In addition to these two requirements, the Administration requires the self-employed to comply with three others, therefore having a total of five obligations:

  • All meals must be produced always during the performance of the activityregardless of whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • The expenses must correspond to meals that have taken place in a restaurant and hotel establishmentbeing only valid payments in bars or restaurants.
  • Payment must be made always by electronic means, so that it is registered. This will allow the verification by the Treasury to be carried out quickly and easily.
  • the amount deducted cannot exceed the limit imposed by the Tax Agency.
  • Invoices, tickets or vouchers must be stored for at least four years.

It is important to emphasize that initially It should be worth having the ticket and the receipt that justifies that the self-employed person has made the payment electronically, since the note reflects both the data of the self-employed person who has made the payment (those of the credit or debit card that must be in their name), the restaurant that you received it (with your name, address and NIF), as well as the date and time. there has been some debate about whether the Treasury could demand an invoice. The truth is that the law says nothing about it. On the contrary, it was established in the manner established by the norm precisely because the data crossing of the note made by the bank on card spending with the ticket delivered by the establishment is sufficient to justify it.

But there are others who choose to heal in health. “It is not that a self-employed person cannot deduct the expenses of per diems by accrediting only one ticket, but that the Tax Agency, in its eagerness to verify the correct fulfillment of the requirements, may require more information, such as the meal bill”, they explained from the Spanish Association of Tax Advisors.

If the self-employed person does not correctly justify the expense, he could be sanctioned by the Treasury

It is very common for the Treasury to carry out a series of checks and requirements, something that most self-employed people fear. In fact, according to the experts, the fact that the Administration requires more information after deducting expenses for meals prevents, in many cases, the self-employed from deducting these expenses although by law they have the right to do so.

In order to verify that the expenses for meals have met all the requirements, the Tax Agency requests evidence confirming this fact. If during an inspection or a request from the Treasury, the Administration considers that the expense is not duly justified, the self-employed worker will have to face two consequences:

  • The expense will no longer be deductible and as a consequence will modify the final result of the statement of income or the VAT declaration, so that the self-employed person will have to face this added payment.
  • The self-employed worker will be sanctioned by the Treasury for having deducted an expense that cannot be justified. Normally, the penalty will a surcharge of between 50% and 150% of the cost.


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