Q. I have five employees who I recently took out for dinner to celebrate the success of the company. The total cost of the meal was £225. Do I have to report this as a benefit-in-kind to HMRC?

A: Finance Bill 2016 legislates for a new tax exemption relating to trivial benefits, which broadly means that if the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee, you will not have to account for it to HMRC, and the employees will not have to pay tax and NICs on it.

The cost of the benefit is defined in the legislation as:

* The cost of providing the benefit; or

* If the benefit is provided to more than one person and the nature of the benefit or the scale of its provision means it is impracticable to calculate the cost of providing it to each person to whom it is provided, the average cost per person of providing the benefit.

So, although different employees will have chosen different food and drinks, HMRC will accept that the cost per head can be taken as £45 (£225/5). The benefit of the meal will therefore be covered by the exemption as the cost per employee did not exceed the £50 trivial benefit limit. You will not have to report it to HMRC.

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