Christmas Party Time and Train Strikes – A Nasty Combination

Employers worried that they could not run Christmas parties for their staff because strikes and disruption could put them back or send employees a Christmas hamper says leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

Robert Salter, a tax services director at the firm, said: “The Government gives employees a £150 non-taxable threshold every year for Christmas parties so that employers can reward their staff without any tax implications.”

He added: “In most years, employees use the allowance to throw a Christmas party for staff, but this year as we enter the Christmas party season suffering a wave of train strikes and other disruptions, employers may be wondering what they should be doing from a ‘Christmas party season’ perspective.”

Robert said: “There is the option of putting the party back and making it a New Year’s party. Naturally, this will depend upon the venue they have booked and whether that venue will re-schedule the event. If the employer can do this, the tax exemption which applies to Christmas parties where the per head cost is under £150 would still be available as the £150 per head tax-exempt threshold for Christmas parties is available to any ‘annual events’ which an employer provides in a tax year – it doesn’t, therefore, have to specifically be for a party in the run-up to Christmas.”

He added: “ Alternatively if the employer feels the need to cancel the Christmas party in full, they could send each of their staff a Christmas hamper of goodies. Providing the hamper costs no more than £50 per person; this would also be a tax-free gift and so – hopefully – bring a bit of cheer to the staff at this time of year.”