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January 13th 2021

Taxable expenses and benefits provided to employees during Covid 19

HMRC has published guidance on the treatment of certain expenses and benefits related to the Covid 19 pandemic.

HMRC has updated its guidance about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC.

Information about ‘coronavirus (COVID-19) tests’ has been added.

Coronavirus tests provided by the government, as part of its national testing scheme, are not treated as a benefit in kind for tax purposes. This means for employed healthcare workers and other eligible front-line staff who get a test through this programme, there is no tax due and employers do not need to report a benefit to HMRC.

If employers are providing antigen testing kits to employees, outside of the government’s national testing scheme, either directly or by purchasing tests that are carried out by a third party, no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due. Similarly, employers and their employees will not be liable to any Income Tax or National Insurance contributions, where an employee receives money from their employer for obtaining a test.

The Government is legislating for this through regulations, and guidance will be updated shortly.

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