HMRC have now agreed you can have a Virtual Staff Party tax free
So you could organise a Virtual online event, have a hamper delivered to your staff and that would count.
Where an annual function is provided virtually using IT then the exemption is capable of being met provided all other conditions are also satisfied as the exemption applies to allow for costs of provision which are generally incurred for the purposes of the event itself.
EIM21690 – Employment Income Manual – HMRC internal manual – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Exemption not allowance
The figure of £150 is not an allowance. For functions that are outside the scope of the exemption (see example at EIM21691) directors and employees, are chargeable on the full cost per head, not just the excess over £150, in respect of:
- themselves and
- any members of their family and household who attend as guests.
The cost of the function includes VAT and the cost of transport and/or overnight accommodation if these are provided to enable employees to attend. Divide the total cost of each function by the total number of people (including non-employees) who attend in order to arrive at the cost per head.