Is Entertainment Tax Deductible?


If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely hosted clients, treated your hardworking staff, or enjoyed some form of entertainment related to your business activities. But when it comes to tax deductions, can you claim expenses related to entertainment? In this article, we’ll navigate the intricate world of entertainment expenses and shed light on what’s deductible and what’s not.

Client Entertainment

When it comes to client entertainment, the tax implications can vary depending on your business structure.

➡️ Limited Companies (Corporation Tax)

For limited companies, the rules surrounding the deductibility of client entertainment expenses can be quite strict. Generally, expenses related to client entertainment are not considered wholly and exclusively for business purposes, which is a key criterion for tax deductibility. Therefore, in most cases, client entertainment expenses are not allowable for Corporation Tax purposes.

However, there are exceptions. If the entertainment expense is directly related to your business activities and can be justified as essential for maintaining or expanding your business, it might be deductible. For example, if you advertise your services or goods and give things away to the public, this will be an allowable tax deduction.

➡️ Sole Traders (Income Tax)

Sole traders face the same rules in terms of client entertainment as limited companies. The concept of “wholly and exclusively for business” remains and therefore client entertainment is generally disallowed. With some exceptions available.

➡️ For VAT

When it comes to Value Added Tax (VAT), the treatment of entertainment expenses is more straightforward. In most cases, VAT on client entertainment expenses is not recoverable, as they are considered non-deductible. This means you cannot reclaim the VAT you’ve paid on such expenses. The exception will be entertaining overseas clients.

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Staff Entertainment

Similar to client entertainment, the deductibility of staff entertainment expenses varies based on your business structure.

➡️ Limited Companies (Corporation Tax)

For limited companies, the rules for staff entertainment expenses are relatively more lenient compared to client entertainment. HMRC acknowledges that staff entertainment is a way of rewarding and motivating your team. Therefore, expenses related to staff entertainment, such as a staff party or team-building event, are generally allowable for Corporation Tax purposes.

However, there are some conditions to meet. The event must be open to all employees, and the cost per head must not exceed a certain limit per year (currently set at £150 per person). If the expenses fall within these parameters, they can be deductible.

➡️ Sole Traders (Income Tax)

Sole traders can also claim deductions for staff entertainment expenses, provided they are incurred wholly and exclusively for business purposes. Similar to limited companies, the cost per head should not exceed the prescribed limit to be allowable.

➡️ VAT

For VAT, staff entertainment expenses are treated differently from client entertainment. VAT on staff entertainment expenses is generally recoverable, as long as they are incurred for business purposes and meet the relevant criteria. The entertainment must be provided as a reward for work or to improve staff morale.

The deductibility of entertainment expenses in the UK depends on various factors, including your business structure and the nature of the expense. While client entertainment expenses are typically less allowable for tax deductions, staff entertainment expenses, under certain conditions, can be deductible. Always ensure proper documentation and adhere to the tax regulations to make the most of your allowable deductions while staying compliant with HMRC rules.

For personalised advice on your business’s entertainment expenses and tax planning, feel free to get in touch with Joanna Bookkeeping. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities of UK tax regulations and keep your finances in tip-top shape!

Working with an accountant can prove beneficial not only when it comes to tasks related to tax and VAT, but also in avoiding mistakes in your business.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Oxford-based accounting team at Joanna Bookkeeping.

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