An honorarium is either:
- an honorary reward for voluntary services
- a fee for professional services voluntarily performed.
An honorarium may be paid in money or as property.
Is an honorarium assessable income?
Whether an honorarium is assessable income of the volunteer depends on the nature of the payment and the volunteer’s circumstances. Honorary rewards for voluntary services are not assessable income and related expenses are not deductible.
Example: Honorarium not assessable
Michael works as a computer programmer at the local city council and volunteers as a referee for the local rugby union. This year, he organised an accreditation course for new referees. He applied for a grant, arranged advertising, assembled course materials and booked venues. Michael is awarded an honorarium of $100 for his efforts. The honorarium is not assessable income.
End of example
Fees received for professional services voluntarily provided are assessable income of the volunteer. In this situation, they may be entitled to a deduction for expenses incurred in performing these professional services.
Example: Honorarium assessable
Judy has a graphic design business and volunteers at the local art gallery. Judy prepares the gallery’s annual report using her business’s software and equipment. At the gallery’s annual general meeting, Judy is awarded an honorarium of $800 in appreciation of her services. This honorarium will be assessable income to Judy because it is a reward for services connected to her income-producing activities.
End of example
Find out if an honorarium your not-for-profit organisation gave to your volunteer is assessable income to that volunteer.