Is providing lunch as part of a course tax deductible?

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Is providing lunch as part of a course tax deductible?

Question:

My friend and I have a partnership. We are two midwives who run private ante-natal classes. The classes take place over the course of one day, once a month with a maximum of 12 attendees. We provide a buffet lunch within the cost of the class for the attendees (i.e. pregnant ladies and partners), which we order from outside. I know that there are restrictions on claiming for meals and wondered whether you would consider the cost of the lunch tax deductible?

Arthur Weller replies:

If you look at HMRC’s Business Income manual (here), the implication is that the cost of the food is not allowable. But if you look at the last paragraph of BIM45030 you can see that in your scenario the costs are allowable because the 'customer purchases a ‘package’ of services that includes an element of entertaining'. And 'all of the services provided have been paid for by the customer and there is no element of free hospitality, so the costs incurred by the provider are not disallowed under the legislation.'

My friend and I have a partnership. We are two midwives who run private ante-natal classes. The classes take place over the course of one day, once a month with a maximum of 12 attendees. We provide a buffet lunch

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This question was first printed in Tax Insider in February 2020.