Now that’s unusual, but it’s true – if you are planning your Christmas party HMRC wants to celebrate with you!

There is a exemption of £150 for your Christmas festivities available to employees, or if you provide two or more annual parties or functions there is no charge in respect of the party as long as the costs do not exceed £150 in aggregate.

Be aware that this is not an allowance, but an exemption.

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.

More good news! Some Christmas gifts from suppliers to employees are tax free if:

  • The gift consists of goods or a voucher or token only capable of being used to obtain goods, and
  • The person making the gift is not your employer or a person connected with your employer, and
  • The gift is not made either in recognition of the performance of particular services in the course of your employment or in anticipation of particular services which are to be performed, and
  • The gift has not been directly or indirectly procured by your employer or by a person connected with your employer, and
  • The gift cost the donor £250 or less, and
  • The total cost of all gifts made by the same donor to you, or to members of your family or household, during the tax year is £250 or less.

Some other gifts are not taxable. If you earn at a rate of less than £8,500 a year and you are not a director, a gift to mark a personal occasion, such as a wedding present, which is not a reward of your employment, is not taxable.

If you earn at a rate of £8,500 a year or more, or you are a director, any gift from your employer is taxable unless your employer is an individual and makes the gift in the course of family, domestic or personal relationships.


Seasonal gifts from Employer to Employee

An employer may provide employees with a seasonal giftsuch as a turkey, an ordinary bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas.

All of these gifts can be treated as trivial benefits. For an employer with a large number of employees the total cost of providing a gift to each employee may be considerable, but where the gift to each employee is a trivial benefit, this principle applies regardless of the total cost to the employer and the number of employees concerned.

If the gift extends beyond one of the items mentioned above, for example from a bottle or two to a case of wine, or from a turkey to a Christmas hamper, you will need to consider the contents and cost before being able to determine whether the benefit is trivial.

So now you know how you can treat your team this Christmas! If you are still unsure we will be delighted to advise you so simply call Vincent & Co.