Christmas is definitely a time when you can give your employees and yourself a trivial benefit worth up to £50.
Section 323A ITEPA 2003 sets out a statutory exemption for trivial benefits. Under this exemption, if an employer provides a benefit to its employees, the benefit is exempt from tax as employment income if all the following conditions are satisfied:
- the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 (or the average cost per employee if a benefit is provided to a group of employees and it is impracticable to work out the exact cost per person) (see EIM21865)
- the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher (see EIM21866)
- the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of any contractual obligation (including under salary sacrifice arrangements) (see EIM21867)
- the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties (or in anticipation of such services) (see EIM21868)
Where the employer is a close company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director or other office holder of the company (or a member of their family or household) the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in the tax year (see EIM21869).
Here is an example
The Employer provides each of its employees with a bottle of wine costing £25 at Christmas. However, as an alternative, it provides employees who do not drink alcohol with a £25 gift voucher for a national supermarket chain which they can exchange for an alternative non-alcoholic Christmas gift. Both the bottle of wine and the non-cash gift voucher can be covered by the exemption.
In fact all shop vouchers that can’t be cash in will count provided the value is less than £50.
So why not make a list of special occasions:
Buy a stock of vouchers and give them out.
This is a fantastic tax free benefit.