Saving Tax with Trivial Benefits - ESDG Accountancy

Saving Tax with Trivial Benefits

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Aimee Nichols, Chartered Accountant

A Guide to Maximising Tax Efficiency with Trivial Benefits for UK Businesses

In the complex world of UK tax regulations, owner-managed businesses face the challenge of complying with HMRC regulations while also minimising their tax liabilities. An often overlooked strategy is ‘trivial benefits’, an efficient way of rewarding employees without incurring any additional tax liabilities.

What Are Trivial Benefits?

Defined by HMRC, trivial benefits are minor, non-cash gifts given to employees, including directors of limited companies.

To qualify as ‘trivial’ and therefore be exempt from income tax and national insurance, these benefits have to meet specific criteria:

  • The cost cannot exceed £50 per benefit. If it does then the whole amount is disallowed.
  • The benefit cannot be given in cash or a cash-equivalent form.
  • It should not be a reward for work performance.
  • It cannot be part of the employee’s contractual agreement.

Examples of Trivial Benefits

Typical trivial benefits might include a birthday present, a meal to celebrate a special occasion, or flowers to express condolences. These small gestures can improve employee morale and engagement, helping to create a work environment that will attract and retain top talent.

It is also possible to expense vouchers (i.e. Amazon or online shopping vouchers) providing the voucher is not able to be exchanged for cash.

Trivial Benefits for Limited Company Directors

While trivial benefits present a clear advantage for tax planning, it’s important to note the £300 annual cap for directors and their employed family members. Also, in order to stay compliant, companies must keep accurate records of all trivial benefits provided to employees.

If you are a director taking advantage of trivial benefits then you must make sure to:

  • Not exceed the £300 annual cap each accounting year.
  • Ensure each individual expense does not exceed £50 (i.e. you may need to make 6x transactions of £50 each totalling £300).
  • Ensure the item purchased is not readily exchangeable for cash.

Implementing Trivial Benefits in Your Tax Strategy

The tax-free status of trivial benefits means that businesses can offer these perks without worrying about additional tax costs, providing a budget-friendly option for enhancing company culture.

Incorporating trivial benefits into your tax strategy offers a straightforward way to reward your team and save on taxes. However, its important to consult with a tax professional to ensure this approach aligns with the current regulations in your jurisdiction.

ESDG Accountancy specialises in tax and accounting solutions for owner-managed businesses in Blackheath and Greater London, aiming to simplify tax compliance and increase financial performance. For expert advice on trivial benefits or other tax-saving tactics, why not get in touch.

About the author

Ed is qualified Chartered Accountant and founded ESDG Accountancy in 2020. He has gained extensive experience in various sectors, working with business owners, international groups, & private equity investors.