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Are gifts to customers allowable against tax?

As a general rule gifts to customers are not allowable against your taxable profits.

However, follow this guidance and you can afford to be a little more generous with your customers this year:

Small gifts which carry a conspicuous advertisement for the trader are an allowable expense. Common examples include: branded diaries, pens and mouse mats. The advertisement must be on the gift, not just the wrapping.

Unfortunately the expenditure of the following kind is specifically excluded (even if it incorporates your advertisement): Food, drink, tobacco, gift vouchers and gifts exceeding £50 per recipient (even if it carries your business logo).

Source material: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/BIM45070.htm

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A tax free gift, is it true?!

A tax free gift, is it true?!

In general, an employer will report gifts made to employees on their annual Benefit-in-Kind Return form P11D meaning that both the employer and employee will pay income tax and national insurance on the value of the gift.

However since 6th April 2016 employers are now, sensibly, able to give tax free gifts to employees up to the value of £50 without the cost or complication of reporting a Benefit-in-Kind.

Such gifts now have a statutory exemption under the Trivial Benefits-in-Kind rule, which must meet each of the following four conditions to qualify for the exemption:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 (or the average cost per employee if a benefit is provided to a group of employees and it is impracticable to work out the exact cost per person)
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of any contractual obligation (including under salary sacrifice arrangements)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties (or in anticipation of such services)

Practical points

  • This is a useful statutory exemption allowing employers to provide most gifts without needless complication.
  • To be treated as a trivial benefit in kind the gift must cost under £50. If your gift costs £51 then the whole amount will be taxed on the employer and employee as a benefit in kind.
  • The gift must be freely given and not as a reward for employee performance (examples include birthday gifts, Christmas presents, a gift on the birth of a new baby, the cost of a summer garden party).
  • Whilst cash or cash vouchers cannot be given, store / gift vouchers may be given.
  • There is no change to the amount of tax relief the business will receive on the cost of the gift. For example a garden party may still count as entertaining which is not allowed for corporation tax.

Source info: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-exemption-for-trivial-benefits-in-kind-draft-guidance/tax-exemption-for-trivial-benefits-in-kind-draft-guidance

Related topics

Entertaining and Meals Out – What is the correct tax treatment?

Are gifts to customers allowable against tax?

Enjoy saving tax?

We have two videos to help on ourYouTube-logo-full_colorchannel; and for regular tax-tips follow our blog on Google+ or click +Follow at the bottom of this page.


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Entertaining and Meals Out – What is the correct tax treatment?

Entertaining and Meals Out – What is the correct tax treatment?

Entertaining clients & staffCan your company pay for the occasional meal out? Maybe. You might be surprised at how much entertainment is allowable if you play within the rules.

Let’s have a look at a few scenarios:

Two directors enjoy a meal out to discuss business
Not allowable for corporation tax. In fact if the company does pay for the meal then the benefit should be reported and National Insurance paid on form P11D. To avoid this needless complication either the company should not pay for such meals or they should be posted against the directors’ loan accounts.

A director or employee takes a client out for a meal
Unfortunately, as above, business entertainment is not allowable against taxable profits. HMRC Guidance found here.

Annual staff function (usually annual xmas party)
Annual staff functions are an allowable expense provided the following criteria are met: The cost of the event does not exceed £150 (inc VAT) per head. The function is annual and not a one-off. Such staff entertaining is allowable for corporation tax and no benefit in kind will arise on staff members thanks to the exemption given by Section 264 ITEPA 2003.

Finally, two company directors (husband and wife) enjoy a meal out together which they hold as their annual staff function. The company has no other employees. Is this tax deductible?

Yes, presuming the function costs no more than £150 per head, all staff are invited and the function is held annually.

Nb: This guidance is not to be confused with costs of travel and subsistence (i.e. modest lunches in the normal course of business travel). See my previous post here.

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