9. Communications and IT

See also:

9.5 Computers and other IT equipment

(a) Definition

Computers and other IT equipment are defined as electronic data management or analysis devices, associated peripherals, accessories and software that may be fixed or portable in nature.

As a simple rule of thumb, an electronic communications or IT device that does not meet any of the definitions for telephones should be considered under this section.

Associated costs include:

Computer and other IT costs
The following are considered to be examples of computer and other IT costs:


  • The computer, whether a server, desktop, laptop or any other portable data device;
  • Any peripherals that cannot be used independently from a computer;
  • Any accessories, cases, batteries, power supplies or chargers.


  • Operating systems;
  • Networking software;
  • Applications software.

Service costs, including broadband and other internet connections, are dealt with in section 9.6.

The following are NOT considered to be Computer or IT costs:

Exclusions to the definition of computers and IT costs:

  • Mobile telephones;
  • Fixed-line telephones;
  • Internet, cable or broadband connections, whether via fixed line or wireless;
  • Peripherals that can be operated independently of a computer or network, e.g. digital and other cameras, televisions and TV equipment, etc.

(b) Computers and IT equipment provided by the University

Where computers and IT equipment are provided and paid for by the University then they will be exempt from any tax charge only as long as the following circumstances apply.

Tax exempt computers and IT equipment provided by the University

On University premises

  • Are not considered to be a taxable benefit as long as they are used for business purposes.


On private premises and elsewhere

  • The equipment must be purchased and paid for in the name of the University and not the individual living at the premises; and
  • The facility must be supplied for business use only as a necessary part of the individual’s responsibilities.

It will usually be obvious whether the equipment is provided for business or private use. To satisfy HMRC requirements it must be shown, if challenged, that private use is insignificant, i.e. less than 10% of total usage.

Where computers or IT equipment are provided by the University and do not meet these rules then a taxable benefit will arise.

(c) Computers and IT equipment owned by individuals but used for business purposes

There is no situation where the University will reimburse the costs of personally-owned computers or IT equipment.