Tax exemption for virtual Christmas Office parties
HMRC has updated its Employment Income Manual EIM 21690 to provide the same tax exemptions for virtual office parties as previous traditional office events .
Where an annual function is provided virtually using IT then the exemption is capable of being met provided all other conditions are also satisfied as the exemption applies to allow for costs of provision which are generally incurred for the purposes of the event itself."
The event is exempt from tax if:
"If the employer provides one annual function for employees no charge to tax arises if the cost of the event per head does not exceed £150 (until 5 April 2003 the figure was £75 per head)".
There are other conditions for the exemption to apply, relating to equitable access , multiple events and businesses with multiple sites so the manual section should be read in full to ensure compliance, a link to the manual is given above.
HMRC helpfully give an example of how the exemption could work
"A company holds one annual function in a tax year and does so virtually using IT. All employees are invited and each is provided with a hamper consisting of some food and drink to be enjoyed by the attendees during the party. The total cost per head is £100 which is within the £150 exemption and so the exemption applies."