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  • UNITED KINGDOM

    Global Employer Services Newsletter December 2019

Trivial benefits in kind exemption

Benefits paid to an employee can be classed as non-taxable as long as they meet certain criteria (it then becomes a trivial benefit). Below are a few things to keep in mind when ascertaining whether a benefit is eligible as a trivial benefit.

Criteria for exemption on a benefit are:

  • Cost must not be over GBP 50
  • Not be in the form of a cash or a voucher redeemable for cash
  • Not part of a salary sacrifice or any other contractual obligation
  • Not be provided in recognition of particular services.

Contractual Agreement can be interpreted in a few ways:

  • Side letter to the main contract
  • Staff handbook
  • Letter of appointment
  • Redundancy agreement
  • Employer union agreement
  • Legitimate expectation

A legitimate expectation doesn’t necessarily have to be a contractual obligation.

With regards to digital platforms supplied to your employees, such as an app that allows employees access to a service such as employee discounts, there are two ways to which exemption to tax could or could not apply.

  • The app itself: the cost of the app must be less than GBP 50 and should meet all criteria to be classed as a trivial benefit.
  • Services provided by the app (if the employer is paying for these services): the cost of the services provided must be less than GBP 50 and should meet all criteria to be classed as a trivial benefit.

If you have any questions with regards to the above, please do reach out to your BDO contact.

Lee Coccaro
[email protected]