Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion package of grants to support businesses through the latest national lockdown.
UK businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to be given one-off grants worth up to £9,000.
The payments are expected to support 600,000 business properties across the UK. A further £594 million will be made available to councils and devolved nations to support businesses not covered by the new grants.
The Chancellor said:
‘The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge, and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.’
‘Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and . . . we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the spring.’
‘This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.’
Internet link: GOV.UK news
Some employers may wish to give a small gift to their employees. As long as the employer meets the relevant conditions, no tax charge will arise on the employee.
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 are made to multiple employees)
- the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
- 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, not just the excess over £50. 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. HMRC examples consider various gifts including turkeys, bottles of wine and gift vouchers.
Further details on how the exemption works, including family member situations, are contained in the HMRC manual.
However if you are unsure please do get in touch before assuming the gift you are about to provide is covered by the exemption.
Internet link: HMRC manual