Corporate subscriptions

Corporate subscriptions are where the subscription is in the name of the University or a specific department rather than a named individual. These are treated like any other business expenditure.

Personal membership subscriptions to professional bodies and learned societies (staff)

The general rule in relation to staff is that personal subscriptions to professional bodies and academic and learned societies are a personal liability and as such should not be charged to any funds administered by the University. An individual can claim their own income tax relief on subscriptions to professional bodies provided that the body is on the HM Revenue & Customs list of approved organisations:

Exceptions to this general rule may be approved in the following situations:

  • Where the subscription is associated with a role rather than an individual, e.g. an association of heads of a subject department
  • Where the Head of Department has deemed that individual membership is necessary for the purposes of course accreditation or research functionality.
  • Where it can be shown that the membership results in a net saving in costs by giving free or reduced subscriptions to professional journals and/or a reduced fee for the attendance at a conference. Where the former, it is a necessary condition that the journals or other publications and any other membership benefits accrue to the University and not just to the individual member of staff.

Approved subscriptions to bodies that are not on the HMRC approved list will incur a tax charge. This will be met by the University and will be charged to the same project code as the subscription. Heads of Department should bear this in mind when considering the costs and benefits of approving a subscription.

Individuals should always seek Head of Department approval before committing to a membership they expect the University to pay for.

Subscriptions to journals and other publications

The cost of journal subscriptions may be met from funds held by the University provided that the expenditure is relevant to the individual’s work at the University. The publication must be made available to others as required and remain with the University on termination of employment. Wherever possible the subscription should be in the name of the University or a department and be paid for directly by the University. If that is not possible, then the publications should be delivered to a University address and not a personal address.

Student subscriptions

Subscriptions may be paid by the University on behalf of students provided they are wholly necessary for the purposes of their study