SHARE THIS

How to have a tax free office Christmas party

Tax free staff Christmas and reminder about Gift Aid for charities

As we head into the festive period it is worth remembering how to plan your office Christmas party and staff gifts to keep them tax free and if you gift a donation to charity don’t forget to “Gift Aid” your payments…

Let’s have a real Christmas Party this year!

Last year many businesses put on a “virtual” Christmas party event and HMRC agreed that would be acceptable in order for there to be no taxable benefit for the employees involved.

There continues to be no taxable benefit for employees provided that all staff are invited, and the cost does not exceed £150 a head, inclusive of VAT.

If you have also had an annual summer event then provided the combined cost of the two events is no more than £150 a head then there would be no taxable benefit in kind. If, however the summer event cost £80 a head and the Christmas party £100 a head only one event would qualify for the exemption.

Christmas gifts of up to £50 per employee is also tax-free

Remember that certain gifts to staff at Christmas are also tax free if structured correctly. Employers are allowed to provide their directors and employees with certain “trivial” benefits in kind tax free.

This exemption applies to small gifts to staff at Christmas, on their birthday, or other occasions and includes gifts of food, wine, or store vouchers.

There are of course a number of conditions that need to be satisfied to qualify for the exemption.

Conditions for the exemption to apply:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of any contractual obligation such as a salary sacrifice scheme
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties

Gifts to charity

Where possible taxpayers should “Gift Aid” any payments to charity to provide a further benefit to the charity. Higher rate taxpayers obtain additional tax relief on the grossed-up amount donated.

For example, where an individual makes a £20 cash donation to charity the charity is able to reclaim a further £5 from HMRC making a gross gift of £25. Where the individual is a 40% higher rate taxpayer he or she is able to claim a further £5 tax relief under self-assessment, reducing the net cost of their donation to £15.

Note that the donor is required to make a declaration that they are a UK taxpayer and those that have not suffered sufficient UK tax to support the Gift Aid amount will taxed on the shortfall.

Remember that Gift Aid does not just apply to gifts of cash. Many charity shops will now sell donated items on your behalf and are able to treat the sale proceeds as Gift Aided donations. It is also possible to gift quoted securities and land and buildings to charity and claim Gift Aid on the market value of those assets.

The Tax team are happy to help should you have any queries, please contact us by phone on 01242 776000 or by email tax@randall-payne.co.uk