Employers who are worried that they are not be able to run Christmas parties for their staff due to strikes and disruption could put them back or send employees a Christmas hamper.
Robert Salter, a tax services director at tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg, said: “The Government gives employees a £150 non-taxable threshold every year for Christmas parties, so that employers can reward their staff without any tax implications.”
He added: “In most years employees use the allowance to throw a Christmas party for staff, but this year as we enter the Christmas Party Season suffering a wave of train strikes, and other disruption employers may be wondering what they should be doing from a ‘Christmas Party Season’ perspective.”
Robert Said: “There is the option of putting the party back and making it a New Year’s party. Naturally, this will depend upon the venue they have booked and whether that venue is willing to re-schedule the event. If the employer is able to do this, the tax exemption which applies to Christmas Parties where the per head cost is under £150 would still be available as the £150 per head tax-exempt threshold for Christmas Parties is actually available to any ‘annual events’ which an employer provides in a tax year – it doesn’t therefore have to specifically be for a party in the run-up to Christmas.”
He added: “ Alternatively, if the employer feels the need to cancel the Christmas Party in full, the employer could send each of their staff a Christmas hamper of goodies. Providing the hamper costs no more than £50 per person, this would also be a tax-free gift and so – hopefully – bring a bit of cheer to staff at this time of year.”