Tax-free perk before annual leave

It is possible to make small tax-free payments to employees, including directors, and this might be an appropriate time to make a small tax-free bonus in advance of the annual holidays.

Employers and employees don’t have to pay tax on such a benefit if all of the following apply:

  • it cost you £50 or less to provide,
  • it isn’t cash or a cash voucher,
  • it isn’t a reward for their work or performance,
  • it isn’t in the terms of their contract.

HMRC describes these payments as a ‘trivial benefit’.

You can’t receive trivial benefits worth more than £300 in a tax year if you are the director of a ‘close’ company. A close company is a limited company that’s run by 5 or fewer shareholders.

Planning note

The only exception to the above is if the trivial benefits are made available as part of a formal salary sacrifice arrangement.

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