Tax – free gifts to employees

Harvey Telford and Bates accountants in Shrewsbury can provide all the guidance you need to make sure you benefit from the tax-free gift exemption.    

A tax exemption is available which should help employers ensure that the benefits provided are exempt and do not result in a reportable employee benefit in kind. In order for the benefit to be exempt it must satisfy the following conditions:  

  • The cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee (or on average when gifts made to multiple employees) 
  • The employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of a contractual arrangement (including salary sacrifice)  
  • The benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties.  
  • Where the employer is a ‘close’ company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director, an office holder or a member of their household or their family, then the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in a tax year.  

 If any of these conditions are not met, then the benefit will be taxed in the normal way subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions.

No more than £50 

One of the main conditions is that the cost of the benefit does not exceed £50. If the cost is above £50 the full amount is taxable. 

The cost of providing the benefit to each employee and not the overall cost to the employer determines whether the benefit can be treated as a trivial benefit. So, a benefit costing up to £50 per employee whether provided to one or more employees can be treated as trivial.  

Where the individual cost for each employee cannot be established, an average could be used. Some HMRC examples consider gifts of turkeys, a bottle of wine or alternatively a gift voucher.  

Further details on how the exemption will work, including family member situations, are contained in the HMRC manual.  

However, if you are unsure please do get in touch with HMRC before assuming the gift you are about to provide is covered by the exemption.  

Director at Harvey Telford and Bates, Danielle Harvey stated: “It’s that festive time of year where many employees will be buying each other secret Santa gifts. It’s this time of year when employees need to understand the conditions of tax-free gifts. At Harvey Telford and Bates, we are on hand to help people benefit from this tax exemption.” 

For more information on tax-free gifts, call a member of our team today on 01743 462604 or email us at [email protected]