Umbrella Expenses – A whole new world

Wednesday 27th July, 2016
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As an Umbrella contractor working through PayStream you will fall into one of two categories; working under supervision, direction or control (SDC) of either the client or the agency or not.

Depending on which category you fall into will determine how and what you will be able to claim tax relief on. For more information on SDC please view our guidance document.

I am under SDC - What expenses can I claim from HMRC?

If you have a regular workplace, but you are sent by the same client to work temporarily at another location (known as detached duty travel or inter-site travel) then HMRC may allow you to claim a tax deduction in respect of travel and subsistence expenses incurred whilst travelling to that temporary workplace.

An easy way to look at this is that you will be allowed tax relief in the same way as a permanent employee on the site would, if he or she was sent to a temporary workplace. Furthermore, all expenses must be incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your employment duties.

You can use the PayStream portal or phone app to record details of any expense you incur but please bear in mind you will only be able to claim those expenses that are allowable in accordance with HMRC rules above.

The type of expenses that you may be able to claim when travelling to a temporary worksite are:

  • Mileage and associated costs (tolls, parking, etc.)
  • Public transport (bus, train, taxi, air fares, etc.)
  • Car hire and fuel costs
  • Accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, rental properties and utilities, etc.)
  • Meal expenses (evening meals, lunch, breakfast, etc.)

Please note that you can no longer claim for travelling to a regular workplace.

General Expenses

Even though you are working under SDC, there are still expenses that you may be able to claim directly from HMRC. There is a potential to claim tax relief for the following expense types, provided that they are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your employment duties:

  • Uniforms and work clothing
  • Tools
  • Professional fees/ subscriptions
  • Business telephone calls
  • Computer hardware/ software
  • Working from home allowance

I'm not under SDC - What expenses can I claim?

Travel and Subsistence (T&S)

As you are not working under SDC, each of your workplaces will be treated as a temporary workplace.

Therefore, you may claim T&S expenses for all business-related mileage where you are obliged to travel to and from your temporary place(s) of work, provided that the travel is incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your employment duties. You can make your claims and receive your tax relief in your payment through PayStream.

General Expenses

As with those who are working under SDC, you will may also be able to claim for the same general expenses directly from HMRC, provided that they are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your employment duties.

For more information, please see your expenses guidelines available on your PayStream portal or read our SDC Frequently Asked Questions.



As you are not working under SDC, each of your workplaces will be treated as a temporary workplace. Therefore, you may claim T&S expenses for all business-related mileage where you are obliged to travel to and from your temporary place(s) of work, provided that the travel is incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of your employment duties.

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