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Allowed expenses when recruting

Allowed expenses when recruting

We are interviewing candidates for a scientific role.  The interview process takes a day.  Is the cost of a meal with the recruiting Director an allowable expense (working lunch) or is it entertaining?  

In the context of the recruitment process it is not entertaining, and there is nothing to be gained from all but one of the candidates (the successful candidate).  The interview is a continual process, and the candidates would consider the discussions during the meal to be a part of the interview, so the food is incidental to the process.

Thoughts - allowable or not?


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25th Feb 2013 16:11

If they're not staff...

... then giving them a meal is hospitality of any kind, and as such business entertainment at first glance.

BIM45045 doesn't seem to help much, but you might argue that the interviewee is giving quid pro quo (see BIM45014).

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26th Feb 2013 01:22

No its entertainment.

You don't need to eat a meal to interview an employee for a potential job.

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26th Feb 2013 11:59

I don't agree Peter

Necessity isn't relevant, and I rather suspect that you haven't read the OP properly and haven't even bothered reading/considering my post.

There are two hurdles to allowability:

Whether the expenditure is wholly and exclusively incurred for the purposes of the business.Whether the expenditure is disallowable as business entertainment.

I think it is expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for business purposes.

It's not unusual for would be employers to reimburse travel expenditure for would be employees attending interviews, particularly those that are lower paid, as well as graduates and those that are currently unemployed.

That way you ensure that you get the pick of all the candidates.  If you're going to spend a whole day evaluating someone, then it's not an unreasonable proposition that you take care of their subsistence needs.

On the second point, it's certainly provision of hospitality, but does the interviewee provide sufficient quid pro quo (see my link above to BIM45014).  Contrasting with the Kilroy decision, I'd suggest that an interview candidate provides a lot more quid pro quo than Kilroy's studio audience did.

Interviews are a two way street.  The interviewee is there helping the recruiting organisation find the right person for the job.

I'd say that BIM45014 gives the OP a tenable position to treat the expenditure as allowable.  His client needs to be aware that HMRC might not agree, but I think it's quite a strong argument on balance.

EDIT: "fraduates" changed to "graduates"!

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to Portia Nina Levin
09th Apr 2013 11:19


Apologies Gentlemen.  For some reason I did not get any notification that anyone had repsonded to this question and so I thought that it was unanswered.  I was just checking something else and saw that you had responded

Thank you for taking the time.

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26th Feb 2013 14:34

Hi George,

I did read your original post and this was an interesting insight to contrast this with the Kilroy case, and the reason I commented was because I am always interested in ways you can put food through the accounts and it is a fair point, and having considered this more on your following email I walk away thorougly humbled. I retract my earlier email.

One of my clients will often take patients to a restaurant to test there rehabilitation process and whether they function properly in a normal setting (another way of getting food through the accounts)




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