The Christmas break-up party and/or gifts to employees can be exempt from Fringe Benefits if a few rules are followed.
Whilst changes occurred during 2010 to vehicle benefits and Living Away from Home benefits, these changes do not effect the typical benefits provided at Christmas. The rules which are consistent with 2011 are briefly:-
The cost can be exempt as an exempt property benefit or an exempt minor benefit.
Exempt Property Benefits
- Costs like food and drinks for employees as part of a Christmas party, provided on a working day on business premises and consumed by current employees of that business.
Exempt Minor Benefits
Rule can apply when the property benefits exemption doesn’t apply, because the party is held at a restaurant or separate venue.
- Cost per employee must be less than $300 (GST inclusive)
- Associates of employees such as spouses and children are regarded as employees (hence the limit for an employee and partner would be $300 each)
Gifts are also considered separately from the Christmas party, so provided the cost of a gift and the party are each less than $300, then both would be exempt from FBT.
The minor benefits threshold of less than $300 applies to each benefit provided, not to the total value of all associated benefits.