Expenditure on food, drink or other hospitality should only be reimbursed if the department is satisfied that it was incurred in the course of departmental or University business.
Important considerations for acceptability:
- If external guests had not attended, would the event still have taken place?
- Is there an appropriate ratio of external guests to Oxford members?
- Have all attendees’ names and organisations been recorded?
- Is the alcohol consumption reasonable?
- Is the cost per head reasonable?
It is also important to check for any entertainment patterns taking place (monthly dinners, weekly drinks, etc) to ensure all claims are reasonable, appropriate, and solely for University business purposes in accordance with Principle 2, and no personal benefits are received.
Examples of what can and should not be claimed as business entertainment include:
|þ||Cost of dinner/drinks with a potential funder or collaborator etc. Under Principle 3, the cost is for business purposes to develop further University business.|
|þ||Cost of lunch with an external examiner. Under Principle 3, the cost is for business purposes.|
|þ||Private dinner in a college to welcome new students. Under Principle 3, the cost is for business purposes.|
|þ||Evening drinks reception at the start of a new course, or in association with lectures or seminars. Under Principle 3, the cost is for business purposes.|
|þ||Cost of student dinners, museum entrance tickets, and occasional social group activities etc, for post-graduate students. Under Principle 3, the cost is for business purposes.|
|ý||Should not be claimed. Activities and entertaining for any political events. Under Principle 3, this is not business hospitality or entertainment. The University must be and be seen to be, politically neutral.|
Entertainment costs for University personnel for events that occur on a regular basis (such as Christmas parties) that are open to all departmental staff may be reimbursed as long as they do not exceed a maximum cumulative spend of £150 per person in any given tax year.
All other non-business entertainment expenses are classed by HMRC as a personal benefit and the value of the entertainment will be subject to tax and National Insurance for each attendee.
Examples of what can and should not be claimed as non-business entertainment:
|þ||Annual department Christmas/Summer party. Under Principle 1, the cost is reasonable for University purposes. This is accepted by HMRC as reasonable for a regular event where total cost per head is less than £150 in any tax year.|
|ý||Should not be claimed. In-house hotel movies or spa costs while travelling on University business. Under Principle 3, a personal benefit is received.|