Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Gareth Hughes & Co.

Our office will close at 1pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and re open at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.


Employee Christmas gifts

At this time of year some employers may wish to make small gifts to their employees.

A tax exemption is available which should give employers certainty 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 benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • 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.

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. Some HMRC examples consider gifts of turkeys, a bottle of wine or alternative gift voucher.

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

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



The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first Autumn Budget on Wednesday 22 November 2017. Some of the key announcements are set out below.

Property and housing

Mr Hammond promised to use a £44bn package of investment, loans and guarantees to increase the annual number of new homes to 300,000 in the middle of the next decade, from 217,000 last year, aided by planning reforms designed to encourage homebuilders not to sit on permissions already granted.

Stamp duty changes to help home buyers

Stamp duty land tax is to be abolished for first-time buyers purchasing a UK home worth up to £300,000, in a reform that official forecasts said would also trigger a rise in house prices.

Health spending 

The government promised an additional £2.8bn in funding over the next three years, including a tranche of £350m that would be given immediately to allow trusts to plan for winter. A further £1.6bn will be allocated in 2018-19, with the balance in 2019-20. The chancellor presented it as an exceptional move to help the service cope with an ageing population and technological advances.

Income tax allowance

The personal income tax allowance will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 in April 2018, while the threshold at which the higher rate of tax of 40 per cent applies will rise from £45,000 to £46,350. The changes will save the average basic rate taxpayer £1.35 a week.


Pension’s tax relief remained unchanged. The Budget also confirmed the lifetime allowance for pensions is to increase to £1.03m from next April.

Minimum wage

Minimum wage increase Britain’s minimum wage workers will receive an inflation-busting pay rise next April, with the hourly rate going from its current £7.50 an hour to £7.83. However, plans to raise the rate for the over-25s to £9 an hour by 2020 has been derailed by the weaker economy.


A tax raid on diesel car buyers, estimated to be worth close to £500m, led a suite of measures to encourage motorists to switch to electric vehicles amid efforts to improve Britain’s air quality.

Despite this the chancellor chose to freeze fuel duty again, a popular measure that costs more than £800m a year to support.Bottom of Form.