Merry Christmas...well not quite!

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Merry Christmas...well not quite!

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’!

Christmas isn’t too far away but we’d rather put that to one side for the time being. So if like us, you’re not ready for Christmas just yet, here’s a reminder of what is allowable for income or corporation tax purposes and what VAT you can reclaim so that you can plan your business celebrations in the most tax efficient way.

  • Gifts to customers of the products or services you normally sell are tax allowable, as long as you are not in the food business.
  • Small promotional gifts of any item are also treated as tax allowable for your business if they cost less than £50 each and carry a clear advertisement for the business. However, you cannot get income tax or corporation tax relief for the cost of gifts of food, drink, tobacco and gift tokens of any value.
  • A number of gifts worth more than £50 in total should not be made to the same person in any 12-month period.
  • If you are VAT registered you can reclaim the VAT on small gifts that cost up to £50 each, including gifts comprising of tobacco and alcohol.
  • If the gift cost more than £50 (net of VAT) you must account for the VAT on the item as if you had sold it at cost.

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 national insurance on the value of those gifts.

HMRC do 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 to pay the tax and NI due on behalf of your employees.