AskDefine | Define honorarium

Dictionary Definition

honorarium n : a fee paid for a nominally free service [also: honoraria (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Compensation for services that do not have a predetermined value.

Extensive Definition

An honorarium is an ex gratia payment made to a person for their services in a volunteer capacity or for services for which fees are not traditionally required. This is used by groups such as schools or sporting clubs to pay coaches for their costs. Another example includes the payment to a guest speaker at a conference to cover their travel, accommodation, or preparation time.


An example of this are the payments made by Australian schools to their sporting coaches. They are ostensibly receiving a reimbursement for their costs in their voluntary role as coach. The concept of an honorarium has a tax implication. In Australia recipients of these funds make a tax declaration (known as the hobbyist form) to the tax office and therefore do not have to include this money in their annual tax return.


In Canada, honorarium is considered as salary and thus, taxable income under the Income Tax Act. In the case where a gift is substituted for honorarium (gift in lieu of money), it is still classified as a taxable benefit by Canada Revenue Agency.
In case where honorarium is paid to individuals not resident in Canada, it is still subjected to income tax withholding (usually 15%) unless prior approval was obtained from Revenue Canada.

Hong Kong

Honorariums are subjected to taxation under HK Laws. Chap 112 Inland Revenue Ordinance and also subjected to the Mandatory Provident Fund, a compulsory saving scheme for retirement.


Under Indonesian National Laws, honorarium recipients is subjected to withholding tax under Income Tax Article 21.

New Zealand

When honorarium is paid to an employee, such as mayors, chairpersons and local clubs and societies, it is not subject to withholding tax but are subject to income tax. However, if the payment was not made to the above mentioned category of people, it is subject to withholding tax rate between 33c to 48c.

United Kingdom

Honorarium is treated for tax purposes by Inland Revenue as taxable income and national insurance, if applicable.

United States

Honorarium paid to a U.S. resident for services performed within or outside the U.S. is subject to federal (and in some cases state) income tax.

See also


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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