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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:

  • Gift certificates
  • Air travel seat upgrades
  • Any type of cancellation fee (most notably “no‐shows” for lodging)
  • Medical expenses
  • Child care
  • Political contributions
  • Automobile maintenance
  • Replacement of lost property
  • Pet care
  • Any type of awards program (airline, rental car, hotel, credit card)
  • Extravagant transportation or accommodations for speakers (e.g. first‐class airfare; travel costs for guest’s family, staff, spouse, or bodyguards; companion suites in hotels, etc.)
  • Payments to individuals/sole proprietors or any non‐profit/government organization
  • Gas for personal vehicle
  • Computer, computer software, or computer accessory purchases
  • Fax machines, microwave ovens, refrigerators, waffle irons, blenders, pots and pans, etc.
  • Personal grooming (e.g. spas, salons, barbers)
  • Membership at a wholesale club (e.g. B.J.’s or Costco)
  • Lobbying activities or activities designed to influence legislation
  • Reimbursement of a political candidate’s expenses or other expenses that would be considered campaign contributions under state or federal law
  • Out‐of‐town travel costs for students taking part in marches, rallies, or similar activities
  • Fundraising for third parties
  • Fines and penalties (e.g. parking tickets, overdue book fines)

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.


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. Expenditures connected to litigation are disallowed.

Donations to Charitable Organizations

Student organizations may not use Law School funds to contribute or donate to charitable organizations inside or outside of HLS.


Student organizations and individual students will not be reimbursed for gifts over $75 given to faculty, University employees, speakers, or other students. In addition, the person who receives the gift may be liable for taxes on the gift. Please make sure all members in your organization are aware of this policy.


Lobbying efforts or activities designed to influence legislation 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 as an activity of Harvard or with Harvard’s support.