11. Entertaining

See also:

11.1 General principles

(a) Definition of entertaining

Entertaining is defined as the provision of food, drink or other hospitality. Practically, this can include activities both on and off University premises and, under the general heading of ‘hospitality’, is not limited to meals.

It does not include meals taken as part of business travel where the primary purpose of the travel is not the meal itself. See subsistence in section 8.1.

(b) University policy

University policy on entertainment is that expenditure may only be made or reimbursed for entertainment incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in the furtherance of University business. The only exceptions to this are those events specifically defined in these rules.  Additional information, including approval limits and record-keeping requirements, are available in the Gifts & Hospitality Policy.

(c) Tax treatment of entertaining

For tax purposes a distinction is made between business and non-business entertaining, i.e. hospitality provided as part of the furtherance of a business or mainly for social purposes. Business entertaining is usually, although not always, tax allowable or exempt from tax; non-business entertaining is usually subject to tax.

The University's status as a charity does not alter these fundamental tax rules.

The University has a number of agreements with HMRC that limit the tax effect of certain types of entertaining. These are detailed in the following sections.

(d) Specific procedures for entertaining expenses

In addition to the general procedures on Expenses and Payment Requests and any additional conditions detailed in the following sections, all payments or reimbursements that include the cost of entertaining must provide the following details:

Additional details for entertaining claims and payments:

  • The names of all attendees, including University staff; and
  • The organisation each attendee represents with confirmation of University of Oxford employment status (OU Staff/Non-OU Staff); and
  • The purpose of the entertainment.