In recent cases there has been a wide ranging application of the definition of “wholly and exclusively for the purposes of trade”, which is the general test for deductibility of expenses.
Two recent examples of this are Mclaren Racing Ltd v HM Revenue & Customs and Interfish v HM Revenue & Customs.
In the case of Mclaren Racing Ltd, the fine relating to the spying of Ferrari amounting to £34m was deemed to be deductible by a first tier tribunal. This was because the act (which was fined) was wholly and exclusively for the purposes of trade and no laws were broken.
Whereas in the case of Interfish Ltd v HM Revenue & Customs the first tier tribunal deemed that sponsorship to a local rugby club was not incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of trade. This was because one of the reasons why the company sponsored Plymouth rugby club was to help the club to buy players, and therefore the sponsorship had a dual purpose.
These two cases could suggest to general taxpayers that there is a disparity between how the wholly and exclusively is applied on a case by case basis, although it should be noted that the points at question were quite different to each other.