BIM45005 - Specific deductions: entertainment: history
Background to business entertainment legislation
Before 1965 there were no special rules relating to business entertainment and it was considered in the same way as any other business expenditure. So long as it was incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade it would be allowed.
In the case of Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless v Beeson  33TC491 (see BIM37400) costs incurred by a firm of solicitors in taking clients out to lunch to discuss business were found to be incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the profession and were therefore not disallowed by what is now ITTOIA05/S34 for individuals and partnerships and CTA09/S54 for corporate entities. Any element of private or non-business hospitality was incidental to the main purpose of promoting the business. In this case, Roxburgh J said at page 493:
However, by the 1960s there was a perception that business entertaining was becoming very lavish and that the law was being abused. This led to the introduction of what is now ITTOIA05/S45 for individuals and partnerships and CTA09/S1298 for corporate entities. self-contained provisions applying only to business entertainment expenses and gifts. With certain exceptions this section denies relief for ‘any expenses incurred in providing business entertainment’ by any person or by a member of that person’s staff.
The purpose of the entertainment is irrelevant. Entertaining expenditure may be incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade or profession. However, it will still be disallowed by virtue of ITTOIA05/S45 for individuals and partnerships and CTA09/S1298 for corporate entities. Therefore, the current legislation would now disallow the expenditure in Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless.