The MFF 2014-20 is divided into the following categories of expense ('headings'):
- Smart and Inclusive Growth
- Competitiveness for growth and jobs: includes research and innovation; education and training; trans-European networks in energy, transport and telecommunications; social policy; development of enterprises etc.
- Economic, social and territorial cohesion: covers regional policy which aims at helping the least developed EU countries and regions to catch up with the rest, strengthening all regions' competitiveness and developing inter-regional cooperation.
- Sustainable Growth: Natural Resources: includes the common agricultural policy, common fisheries policy, rural development and environmental measures.
- Security and citizenship: includes justice and home affairs, border protection, immigration and asylum policy, public health, consumer protection, culture, youth, information and dialogue with citizens.
- Global Europe: covers all external action ('foreign policy') by the EU such as development assistance or humanitarian aid with the exception of the European Development Fund (EDF) which provides aid for development cooperation with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, as well as overseas countries and territories. As it is not funded from the EU budget but from direct contributions from EU Member States, the EDF does not fall under the MFF.
- Administration: covers the administrative expenditure of all the European institutions, pensions and European Schools.
- Compensations: temporary payments designed to ensure that Croatia, who joined the EU in July 2013, does not contribute more to the EU budget than it benefits from it in the first year following its accession.