Monthly Archives: December 2020

Reducing the tax on Christmas

Entertaining and providing gifts at Christmas time to staff, customers and suppliers is a cost of doing business.  However, there are some important FBT, GST and income tax considerations and outcomes.  

As an employer, you need to be careful at what you provide at Christmas.  The rules are complex and the costs of getting it wrong can prove very expensive.

We will outline some of the more common scenarios and what to be careful of.

Under-pinning the implications are the following key points:-

  • Christmas parties, entertainment and gifts are all treated under entertainment tax rules.

  • FBT applies to benefits given to employees.

  • There are no FBT implications on entertainment and gifts given to customers, clients and suppliers.

  • There are three methods under which an employer can quantify the taxable components of any entertainment expenditure – in fact there are 38 permutations depending on who is entertained where, how and with whom.  We will largely address the actual method which is the one used by most small businesses (as it usually results in the best outcome).  It is beyond the scope of this briefing to address the 12 week log method and we will only touch upon the 50/50 method where relevant.

  • Christmas comes but once a year and to the best of my knowledge and experience does so on 25th December.  Nevertheless, the ATO treats Christmas parties and gifts as being what are called minor, infrequent and irregular benefits.

  • Such minor benefits are FBT exempt where they cost less than $300 (including GST) provided the actual method is used to quantify entertainment.

The Christmas party

Where entertainment is calculated under the actual expenditure method (which is the most common method for small businesses):-

  • If a Christmas party is held on-site on a work day, the whole cost for each employee will be an exempt fringe benefit.  So too will the spouse’s cost provided the cost per spouse is less than $300.  No income tax deduction can be claimed for the cost of the party including that in respect of any family members that may attend.  Taxi travel to or from the workplace (not both ways) will be exempt from FBT and not tax deductible.

  • If a Christmas party is held off the work premises, then the whole cost will be exempt from FBT provided the party costs less than $300 per person (employees and their spouses).  No income tax deduction can be claimed for the cost of the party including that in respect of any family members that may attend.

  • If an external Christmas party costs more than $300 or more per person then the total cost is subject to FBT.

  • The cost of any entertainment provided during the party (whether that be at the work premises or outside) will be exempt if it costs less than $300 per head – for example a DJ, musician, clown and comedian.

  • The cost of entertaining clients, customers and suppliers is not subject to FBT and is not tax deductible.

  • If any exemption is exceeded then FBT is payable.  Consequently, an FBT Tax Return must be lodged and FBT paid (the FBT tax rate being the same as the top marginal tax rate).  Please keep this in mind when completing the 2018/19 FBT Questionnaire in early April 2019.

  • All other entertainment during the year will be subject to FBT on a case by case basis.

Where entertainment is calculated under the 50/50 method:-

  • 50% of the cost will be subject to FBT and this portion will be tax deductible.  The other 50% will not be subject to FBT and will not be tax deductible.  An FBT Tax Return must be lodged and FBT paid.

  • Only taxi travel from home to the venue will be FBT exempt and not deductible for tax.

  • 50% of all other entertainment during the year will be subject to FBT.

Gifts

The following gifts are exempt from FBT and are tax deductible:-

  • Hampers, bottles of wine, gift vouchers, a pen set costing less than $300 (inclusive of GST).

The following gifts are subject to FBT and are not tax deductible:-

  • Tickets to a sporting event or theatre, holiday, accommodation, etc.

The GST treatment of gifts is:-

  • The GST component of any tax deductible portion can be claimed back.
  • The GST component that relates to the non tax deductible portion can’t be claimed.

Please do not hesitate to call us should you have any queries.

Can your business benefit from JobMaker

JobMaker is an incentive announced within the October Federal Budget.  Employers will be paid a generous incentive which take on additional young employees between October 2020 and October 2021 .  JobMaker payments will be paid quarterly and will start from February.

Registrations opened on 7th December and you need to be registered by 6th January.  Those employers who would have been entitled to claim JobMaker will miss out on 3 months of payments if not registered by then.  That could be as much as $2,600 per qualifying employee!

Registered employers will receive:-

  • $200 per week for each eligible employee aged between 16 and 29

  • $100 per week for each eligible employee aged between 29 and 35

JobMaker is not available to employers who are receiving JobKeeper.

To qualify, employers must:-

  • Have an ABN

  • Up to date with tax lodgements

  • Registered for PAYG WH

  • Be reporting through Single Touch Payroll

  • Have employed an additional employee – and not just replaced one employee with another

Qualifying employees must have been in receipt of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment for at least one month of the three months preceding their being employed.  They must also have worked an average of 20 hours per week.

We welcome any questions you may have. 

And like JobKeeper you have to register to receive anything so don’t let this opportunity, or moreover the money, pass you by.