How to calculate the taxable value of entertainment

The actual method of valuing entertainment

The information, tables and examples in this guide are all based on choosing the actual method of valuing entertainment. The taxable value of the food or drink or recreation, and the associated accommodation or travel, is the actual amount you pay for the benefit of the employee.


If you use the actual method of valuing entertainment FBT will only apply to entertainment you provide to your employees and/or their associates. Entertainment you provide to your clients will not be subject to FBT under this valuation method.

End of attention

When you provide entertainment to both employees and non-employees (for example, clients), only the part of the entertainment relating to employees and their associates is subject to FBT. If you cannot easily determine the actual expenditure, you can use a 'per head' basis of apportionment.

Example: apportioning per head
Mary entertains three of her employer's clients at a local restaurant. Her employer uses the actual method to value entertainment. Mary pays, and is reimbursed, for the full cost of the meals. The benefit provided to Mary is an expense payment fringe benefit. The taxable value of that benefit is 25% of the amount reimbursed to Mary.

Hiring or leasing entertainment facilities

Where you provide entertainment by hiring or leasing entertainment facilities (entertainment facility leasing expenses), the taxable value is the cost of the activity.

Other methods of valuing entertainment

There are two other methods of valuing entertainment. These methods are for valuing meal entertainment which does not include recreation.

  • the 50:50 split method for valuing meal entertainment fringe benefits and entertainment facility leasing expenses, or
  • the 12-week method for valuing meal entertainment fringe benefits

Meal entertainment includes:

  • providing entertainment by way of food or drink
  • providing accommodation or travel in connection with, or to facilitate the provision of, such entertainment, or
  • paying or reimbursing expenses incurred by the employee for the above.

Recreation includes:

  • amusement, sport and similar leisure time activities, for example, a game of golf, theatre or movie tickets, a joyflight or a harbour cruise.

If you choose to classify a fringe benefit as a meal entertainment fringe benefit, you have to classify all fringe benefits arising from providing meal entertainment during the FBT year as such.

Both of these methods are based on your total meal entertainment expenditure. This includes expenditure that may otherwise be exempt from FBT or not normally subject to FBT, for example providing food and drink to employees on your business premises and/or providing meals for clients.

You must decide to classify fringe benefits as meal entertainment no later than the day your FBT return is due to be lodged with us or if you do not have to lodge, by May 21.

Which method is best for you?

When determining which meal entertainment valuation method is best for your organisation, factors to consider are:

  • who you provide entertainment to (employees, associates or clients)
  • how often you provide entertainment
  • which method results in the lowest FBT liability, and
  • administration costs of each method for your organisation.
    Last modified: 19 Oct 2007QC 19919