An honorarium is an ex gratia payment, i.e., a payment made, without the giver recognizing himself as having any liability or legal obligation to the recipient for his volunteered services, or for services for which fees are not traditionally required. It is a common remuneration practice in schools or sports clubs, for teachers and coaches.[1][2][3] Another example includes the payment to guest speakers at a conference meeting to cover their travel, accommodation, or preparation time. Services for Christian Church funerals and/or memorial services are often paid by honorarium, as the minister, musicians, organist, soloist and others, out of care, do not have a set fee for services to grieving families.[4][5][6] Likewise, wedding officiants are sometimes paid through honorarium.[7][8] When required, honorariums may be termed altarages, although an altarage may be paid to a church or parish rather than a person.



An example of this is the payments made by Australian schools to their sporting coaches.[9] They are ostensibly receiving a reimbursement for their costs in their voluntary roles as coaches. The concept of an honorarium has a tax implication. In Australia, recipients of these funds make a tax declaration (known as the hobbyist form)[10] to the tax office and therefore do not have to include this money in their annual tax return.


In Canada, honoraria are considered salary and thus, taxable income under the Income Tax Act.[11] 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.[11]

In cases where an honorarium is paid to an individual who is not a resident of Canada, the honorarium is still subjected to income tax withholding (usually 15%) unless prior approval was obtained from Revenue Canada.[12]

Hong Kong

Honoraria 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.[13][14]


Under Indonesian National Laws, honorarium recipients are subjected to withholding tax under Income Tax Article 21.[15][16]

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 is subject to income tax.[17] 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.[18]

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, remuneration received by Government Ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) are considered by the President as Honoraria. As such deemed by him to be not subject to PAYE as MPs have honorific before their names as such receive honorariums and not salaries from the State.[19]

United Kingdom

Honoraria to employees are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions under PAYE.[20][21] However payments are made based on services required and not bound by any contractual arrangements.

The British spy agencies euphemistically call a bribe an "Honorarium" or "King George's cavalry".[22][23][24]

United States

An 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.[25]

Members of the United States Congress are prohibited by law from accepting honoraria for things such as speeches or articles.[26]

See also


  1. ^ Washington State Executive Ethics Board,, An example of the rules for payment of an honorarium in the United States. Archived 2007-09-17 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^, Sports, Coaches courted with payment in minor hockey, Gone are the days when all coaches were unpaid volunteers, By Kristina Rutherford, CBC Sports, Dec 05, 2008
  3. ^ "McMaster University,, A Canadian example of the use of an honorarium" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  4. ^, What is the standard donation for a minister who performs a memorial service?, July 13, 2016. Archived 2016-09-20 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Etiquette for the Surviving Family: Planning the Funeral". Funeralwise. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  6. ^ "Funeral Honorarium - Memorial Tipping | Heart2Soul". Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  7. ^ "Honorariums for Minister". WeddingWire. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  8. ^ "How Much Does an Officiant Cost?". CostHelper. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  9. ^ "Employment Contract Considerations – SWIM Coaches and Teachers Australia". Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  10. ^ "Australian Taxation Office, Australian tax law regarding the payment of honoraria". Archived from the original on 2004-06-09. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  11. ^ a b "Queen's University, How to Pay an Honorarium". Archived from the original on 2015-01-07. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  12. ^ McMaster University's Faculty of Health Sciences, THE HOOKER DISTINGUISHED VISITING PROFESSOR TRUST FUND. Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Report No. 43 of the Director of Audit
  14. ^ University of Hong Kong , Mandatory Provident Fund
  15. ^ "Embassy of Indonesia in Ottawa, ARTICLE 21 INCOME TAX". Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  16. ^ Pajak Indonesia, Konsultan Pajak, Taxation of Expatriate Employee. Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ New Zealand Inland Revenue website, When to tax honoraria. Archived 2016-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ New Zealand Inland Revenue website, Activities subject to withholding tax
  19. ^ Cabinet: State employees liable for PAYE Tax
  20. ^ HM Revenue and Customs. "Honoraria and similar payments". PAYE for employers. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  21. ^ HM Revenue and Customs. "NIM02205 – Class 1 NICs: Earnings of employees and office holders: Honoraria and similar payments". National Insurance Manual. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  22. ^ Tom E. Mahl,Espionage's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Malicious Moles, Blown Covers, (2003)
  23. ^ Joseph Goulden The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English, 2013.
  24. ^ Scott Shane Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too., New York Times, Feb. 17, 2018.
  25. ^ UCAR, Honorarium Payment Guidelines
  26. ^ Brudnick, Ida A. (April 11, 2018). "Congressional Salaries and Allowances: In Brief" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved June 30, 2018.