The list of HMRC-approved professional organisations and learned societies (List 3) is a vital document for payroll professionals and individuals.


Part 5 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA) allows for certain deductions to be made from taxable pay – i.e. to reach a figure called net taxable pay which is the pay on which Income Tax is calculated.  This part includes things such as expenses for business travel.

Sections 343 and 344 of ITEPA allow for professional membership fees and annual subscriptions to be provided free of tax and National Insurance where:

  • It is paid to a body that has HMRC approval, and
  • The activities of the body are of direct benefit to or concern the profession practiced in the performance of the duties of the employment

The full list of professional bodies that have the necessary HMRC approval is published in a document known as ‘List 3’.  List 3 is essential reading for the reward professional, as the day-to-day professional impact of a body appearing on it are that:

  • Employers can reimburse fees and subscriptions without fear there will be a P11D implication and / or
  • Individuals can claim tax relief on the fee or subscription that they have paid (assuming that the employer has not actually reimbursed the fee or subscription)

The way in which tax relief is claimed depends on whether the amount is up to or over £2,500 over the course of the tax year.

Update 02 December 2019

When it is updated, it is essential that we are provided with the details of what has changed.

On 02 December 2019, List 3 was updated with the simple comment:

The list of professional bodies approved for tax relief has been updated with 4 additions, 3 amendments and 1 deletion

No details were given.  I have queried this with HMRC for the last 6 weeks and have now been provided with the details of the update that all apply from the tax year 2019/20:

  1. Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention Society (MICCAI)
  2. Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP)
  3. Orthodontic Technicians Association UK (OTA)
  4. Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP)
  1. Farm Management Association
  1. Institute of Information Security Professionals changed to Chartered Institute of Information Security
  2. British Institute of Facilities Management changed to Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management

The third change is confusing to say the least.  The Institute of Agricultural Management was listed twice, once under the old name of Farm Management Association (now deleted) and once as ‘Agricultural Management Institute of’.  The instruction by HMRC was to delete the Farm Management Association which did happen.  Secondly, to change ‘Agricultural Management Institute of’ to ‘Institute of Agricultural Management’.  This did not happen, as publishers of List 3 prefer to stick with the protocol of having the words ‘Institute of’ at the end of the name.

I think it is safe and certain to say that there were only 2 actual changes to List 3 on 02 December 2019!


I have been assured by HMRC that amendments to List 3 from the end of January 2020 will be fully detailed.  They understand how important this is to payroll and reward professionals.

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