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Because of Harvard University’s status as a non‐profit institution, compliance with IRS regulations prohibits certain activities. The University is not able to reimburse or make payments for the following:

  • Any sealed containers of alcoholic beverages purchased for consumption elsewhere
  • Any hard liquor within a food establishment
  • Extravagant transportation or accommodations for speakers (e.g., first‐class airfare; costs for travel of guest’s family or staff, spouse, bodyguards or companion suites in hotels, etc.)
  • Air travel seat upgrades
  • Any type of cancellation fee (most notably “no‐shows” for lodging)
  • Any type of awards program (airline, rental car, hotel, credit card, etc.)
  • Gratuity in excess of 20%
  • Gifts: Student organizations and individual students will not be reimbursed for gifts given to faculty, University employees, speakers or other students more than $74.99 due to tax implications for the gift recipient.
  • Political contributions
  • Payments to individuals/sole proprietors or any non‐profit/government organization
  • Activities designed to influence legislation, or other lobbying activities are prohibited by the University’s nonprofit status
  • Reimbursement of a political candidate’s expenses, or other expenses which would be considered campaign contributions under state or federal law
  • Donations to charitable organizations: Student organizations may not use funds granted to them by Harvard Law School to contribute or donate to charitable organizations, either inside or outside of HLS.
  • Lobbying: Activities designed to influence legislation or other lobbying activities are prohibited by the University’s non‐profit status. Students or student organizations cannot lobby using the Harvard name or the name of an official student organization. Any such activity by individual students or groups must be clearly identified as individual and not an activity of Harvard or with Harvard’s support.
  • Litigation: In general, student organizations, other than student practice organizations under the auspices of the Clinical Program (e.g., Legal Aid Bureau, PLAP, Defenders, TAP, Mediation Project), are not permitted to engage in direct litigation, particularly client representation. Accordingly, expenditures connected to litigation are disallowed.
  • Out‐of‐town travel costs for students taking part in marches, rallies, or similar activities
  • Fundraising for third parties is not allowed
  • Automobile maintenance
  • Gas for personal vehicle
  • Fines and penalties such as parking tickets and overdue book fines
  • Gift certificates
  • Medical expenses
  • Child care
  • Replacement of lost property
  • Pet care
  • Computers/Small Appliances: The purchase of computers and computer software and accessories, fax machines, microwave ovens, refrigerators, waffle irons, blenders, pots and pans, etc.
  • Personal Grooming: Spas, salons, barbers, etc.
  • Membership at a wholesale club (e.g. BJ’s or Costco)

Noncompliance with HLS Rules and Policies

Student organizations who violate HLS rules and/or policies will not be reimbursed for expenses incurred as a result of these violations. If the Dean of Students concludes that a deliberate violation of a HLS financial policy has occurred, the student(s) from that particular student organization may be subject to disciplinary proceedings before the Administrative Board.