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Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003

Section 317: Subsidised meals

1331.This section derives from section 155(5) of ICTA which provides an exemption for canteen meals and from ESC A74. The ESC provides an exemption for the provision of any free or subsidised meals on the employer’s premises, but not elsewhere, provided that all the employer’s employees are able to obtain such meals or have vouchers or tokens enabling them to obtain such meals, regardless of where those meals are obtained. To the extent that this section legislates ESC A74 it is a minor change to the law. See Change 77 in Annex 1.

1332.Section 155(5) of ICTA and the concession requires meals to be available to the staff “generally”. It was not clear how that test applies when employees work at different locations. In practice the rule is applied sensibly and the new section provides clarification by focusing on the employees at a particular location.

1333.Section 155(5) of ICTA and ESC A74 only provide an exemption from the benefits charge. This section goes further and provides a complete exemption from income tax. This is a minor change to the law. See Change 77 in Annex 1.

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