Christmas Gift Time Mr Taxman!

Newsletter issue - December 2009.

Many firms are foregoing expensive Christmas parties this year and as an alternative are giving small seasonal gifts to staff and customers. But before you break open the hampers consider what may be allowable for income or corporation tax purposes, and what VAT you can reclaim.

Gifts to your staff are tax allowable, but your employees could be taxed on the value of the gift as a benefit in kind. In that case you would also have to pay Class 1A NI on the value of those gifts. The Taxman does consider some small items to be trivial benefits, which can be given as tax-free gifts to staff members. Trivial items can include seasonal gifts such as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of plonk (not fine vintage or champagne), or a box of chocolates.

Where you are considering making larger gifts to each employee such as a Christmas hamper, you can include the cost of those gifts in a PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA) with the tax office. The PSA allows you pay the tax and NI due on behalf of your employees.

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