FBT free options for providing food and drink

This provides some guidance in relation to how business areas can provide food and drink in a manner that WILL NOT ATTRACT FBT.

1. Have a morning tea, afternoon tea or light meal on ANU premises

University Premises include:

  • your tea-room
  • a meeting room
  • Boffins Bar (University House)
  • Fellows Café (University House)
  • Ivy Cafe
  • Teatro Vivaldi
  • The Gods Café & Bar
  • Vanilla Bean Café (JCSMR)
  • Chats Café (School of Arts)
  • Scope Café (MSO)

Morning/afternoon tea include: tea, coffee, fruit drinks, cakes, biscuits but no alcohol

Light meals include: sandwiches, hand food, salads, one-course meals but no alcohol

For this option to be FBT-free, there must be a business reason behind the event (e.g. to celebrate a business milestone, staff meeting etc.). The light meal provided in these circumstances can be provided by an outside caterer.

2. Have a morning tea, afternoon tea or light meal away from ANU premises

This includes any restaurant/café not listed above as ANU premises. "ANU premises" does not include privately operated businesses within the Union Building such as Purple Pickle Café, Caterina's, Pajenkas, Degree Café or any other cafés.

Meals held at these premises must be on an irregular, infrequent and minor basis. For ANU purposes irregular and infrequent is classified as occurring less than monthly. Minor is a cost less than $30 per head. An employee and their associates are counted as one head for this exemption. There must be no other entertainment provided with the meal.

Morning/ afternoon tea include: tea, coffee, fruit drinks, cakes, biscuits but no alcohol

Light meals include: sandwiches, hand food, salads, one-course meals but no alcohol

For this option to be FBT-free, there must be a business reason behind the event (e.g. to celebrate a business milestone, staff meeting etc.)

Utilising the minor benefit exemption for off-campus meals is not encouraged by ANU but should be applied only in situations where necessary.

3. Provide meals/ moderate amounts of alcohol at an eligible seminar

Meals must be "incidental" to the seminar (i.e. at the same venue as the seminar or have a guest speaker and as such form part of the seminar program) and not be a separate social event such as a gala dinner. Separate social events will incur FBT.

4. Provide meals (including moderate amount of alcohol) to employees who are travelling for ANU business purposes

An employee is travelling if they are staying away from home overnight. A moderate amount of alcohol is allowed with a meal while travelling and as long as there is no other entertainment provided then the meal will be exempt from FBT.

It is worth noting that if a travelling employee dines with a non-travelling employee, FBT will be payable on the non-travelling employees meal. Any clients that attend a meal with a travelling employee will be not subject to FBT.

5. Meal Entertainment Minor Benefit Exemption - Limited Circumstances

Meal Entertainment includes any meal that is considered to be entertainment or is provided in connection with entertainment. This would include a meal for an employee that is provided in connection with a social function. The meal options considered above are not considered to be meal entertainment.

In most businesses, where meal entertainment is provided to staff (such as a social Christmas party) the Minor Benefit Exemption can apply to reduce the taxable value to nil. As ANU is a tax-exempt body there are only 2 scenarios where the minor benefit exemption can be applied:

  • The provision of the entertainment is incidental to the provision of entertainment to outsiders, and does not consist of a meal other than light refreshments (such as joint research partners taking a cruise around Lake Burley Griffin with a morning tea being served and a few staff members attending).
  • A function held on ANU premises to recognise the special achievements of an employee in relation to their employment (such as the Laureate Fellows dinner held at Boffins each year). The meal for the employee being recognised and their associates can be considered minor.

For the Minor Benefit Exemption to apply the event must be irregular, infrequent and minor. For ANU purposes irregular and infrequent is classified as occurring less than monthly. Minor is a cost less than $30 per head. An employee and their associates are counted as one head for this exemption.