Festive Celebrations at Work: Christmas Parties and Gifts with FBT in Mind

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The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and giving. For businesses, it's also a time to navigate the complexities of Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) when planning Christmas parties and giving gifts to employees. Understanding the implications of FBT can ensure that your festive generosity doesn't come with unexpected tax burdens.



What is FBT?

FBT, or Fringe Benefits Tax, is applicable to certain benefits employers provide to their employees in addition to their regular salary or wages. These benefits have a monetary value and are subject to separate taxation. The FBT year runs from April 1st to March 31st the following year.



FBT Checklist for Your Christmas Party

1. Cost – How much does it cost?

  • The cost of food and drinks is a crucial factor.
  • Some costs may be exempt from FBT if provided on a working day at your business premises and consumed by current employees.

2. Premises – Where is the event held?

  • Events held on business premises on a normal workday are treated differently than those outside of work.
  • A Christmas party on the business premises may be an exempt benefit if provided to current employees on a working day.

3. Guests – Different rules for employees and clients.

  • Client entertainment costs are not subject to FBT and are not income tax deductible.
  • Given employee entertainment is not deductible unless it is subject to FBT, the calculation of FBT and the resulting tax deduction treatment are intrinsically linked.
  • There are a number of different methods that can be used for FBT purposes regarding entertainment. These methods will inherently therefore impact when FBT is paid and when a deduction is either available or not available.


FBT Considerations for Christmas Gifts

1. Type of Gifts and Recipients

  • Different types of gifts are treated differently concerning FBT.
  • Consider the distinction between gifts to employees and gifts to clients.

2. Gifts to Employees

  • A gift to an employee at Christmas may be a minor benefit, exempt if the value is less than $300.
  • If provided at a Christmas party also provided by the employer, each benefit must be considered separately to determine if they are both less than $300 in value.


In the spirit of giving during the holiday season, it's essential for businesses to plan ahead and consider the FBT implications of Christmas parties and gifts. By understanding the specific rules and exemptions, you can ensure that your festive celebrations remain a source of joy for both employees and employers alike, without any unwelcome surprises come tax season. Remember, a little bit of foresight can go a long way in making your holiday festivities tax-compliant and stress-free. Cheers to a season filled with celebration, gratitude, and financial wisdom!
DOWNLOAD OUR SMART TIPS TO MANAGING CASHFLOW FOR CHRISTMASRelated: Jingle Bills: Navigating Your Business Through Festive Season

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Azure Group
Azure Group

Azure Group is the leading Chartered Accounting, Business Advisory and Strategic Advisory firm supporting the growth & success of fast growing entrepreneurial businesses.

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