Tax and Christmas Party

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Santa is bringing the most wonderful and awaited time of the year. Christmas is the ideal time to give and take love and joy. After Halloween, people have already started counting the days. And if you have still not decided where you willset up party for your employees or colleagues and how much you are going to spend this Christmas, then this article will certainly help you to plan better.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of hosting holiday parties. The way you celebrate Christmas at work reflects your working climate and culture. The cost of a Christmas party is tax deductible only to the extent that it is subject to FBT, according to ATO.It is therefore important to plan and organize the party to ensure that there won’t be any tax problems in future. Not all your costs are tax deductible, you must have a clear knowledge about the expenses which are deductible and which are not.

Christmas parties have no separate FBT category. All benefits that employers avail from the Christmas function varies depending upon where the function is provided, the cost of the function per attendee and the basis that the employer is using in working out the taxable value of such benefits. Food, beverages and other gifts provided at the Christmas party may either constitute –

  • An expense payment fringe benefit
  • A property fringe benefit
  • A residual fringe benefit

These benefits are the actual basis of valuation, however there are special valuations rules that an employer may elect to apply. In case an employer fails to make an election, the taxable value is determined according to the actual expenditure. The “meal entertainment” fringe benefits can be exempt from FBT if there is a “Minor benefit” or an exempt property benefit.

Minor benefits are the ones where it-

  • Does not come under reward for services
  • Provided on irregular basis
  • Has a notional taxable value of less than $300

Exempt Property Benefit

If the party is held on regular workplace, where food and beverages including alcohol is served then it is deemed to be an exempt property benefit, thus, FBT free. This is quite similar to the occasional Friday drinks at work. Such property benefits are exempted by the tax law. This exemption applies solely to the employees.

For all Christmas parties that are held off business premises, the associated costs will give rise to FBT unless these costs are under the minor benefit. To categorize these expenses under proper heads is vital that requires assistance from accountant.Also, if you wish to reward your staff with gifts, you must know whether your gifts come under the “Non entertainment gift” or not. Non entertainment gifts are exempted from FBT.

There is so much more that you need to know about your tax and party. Plan your party considering all tax rules and regulations. You should seek the advice of ATO and accountants if required.