The University has an exemption from HMRC to allow for individual membership fees or annual subscriptions to qualifying professional bodies and learned societies to be paid without any tax implications.
Individual membership fees or subscriptions to HMRC’s approved list may be claimed through the expenses process and reimbursed by the University. To qualify for reimbursement, all the following conditions need to be met:
- membership is necessary in order to fulfil the duties of the role, or is required by contract of employment; and
- the professional body appears on HMRC’s approved list; and
- the department or research funder concerned allows these payments to be made.
Payments for individual membership fees to organisations that are not covered by this dispensation are treated by HMRC as a taxable benefit. If memberships or subscriptions are considered essential for operational reasons, the department should first try to arrange a corporate/institutional membership. If this is not possible, the department may agree to cover theses costs for an individual through the expenses process, but tax and National Insurance costs will apply.
Note: the University is unable to make any requests for additions to HMRC’s approved list.
Where it is necessary for an individual to pay a membership fee in order to attend a conference, the payment should be carefully considered under the value for money principle. If the cost of the membership brings significant value to the department, through publications and free attendance at other conferences and events throughout the year etc, the department may accept this and pay the additional tax and National Insurance costs it will incur through the University's payroll. If the membership cost adds no additional value to the department, then they should not be reimbursed.