How the Fringe Benefit Tax Impacts Your Christmas Party

How quickly the year has gone! It is that time of year again where you and your colleagues will be starting to wind down for a break over the festive season. Before you do this, you will likely have a Christmas Party to celebrate the year.

Do not forget about your bookkeeper and accountant at this time of year! They will be worried about one thing: The Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) with regards to your Christmas celebrations.

Fringe benefits provided by you, an associate, or under an arrangement with a third party to any current employees, past and future employees and their associates (spouses and children), may attract FBT. Let’s have a look at the different fringe benefits received at this time of year and work out how they affect your organisation.

Exempt benefits – minor benefits

The provision of a Christmas party to an employee may be a minor benefit and exempt if the cost of the party is less than $300 per employee and certain conditions are met. The benefit provided to an associate of the employee may also be a minor benefit and exempt if the cost of the party for each associate of an employee is less than $300.The threshold of less than $300 applies to each benefit provided, not to the total value of all associated benefits.

Gifts provided to employees at a Christmas party

The provision of a gift to an employee at Christmas time may be a minor benefit that is an exempt benefit where the value of the gift is less than $300.

Where a Christmas gift is provided to an employee at a Christmas party that is also provided by the employer, the benefits are associated benefits, but each benefit needs to be considered separately to determine if they are less than $300 in value. If both the Christmas party and the gift are less than $300 in value and the other conditions of a minor benefit are met, they will both be exempt benefits.

Tax deductibility of a Christmas party

The cost of providing a Christmas party is income tax deductible only to the extent that it is subject to FBT. Therefore, any costs that are exempt from FBT (that is, exempt minor benefits and exempt property benefits) cannot be claimed as an income tax deduction.

The costs of entertaining clients are not subject to FBT and are not income tax deductible.

Christmas party held on the business premises

A Christmas party provided to current employees on your business premises or worksite on a working day may be an exempt benefit. The cost of associates attending the Christmas party is not exempt, unless it is a minor benefit.

Want to learn more? Reach out to the team at Marin Accountants today. We hope you have a wonderful festive season!

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