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Companies can show appreciation for employees and boost Irish business this Christmas – Byrne

Relaxation of rules on Small Benefit Exemption allows second gift voucher for employees this year

25th November 2021 - Senator Maria Byrne

Companies can avail of relaxed rules around the Small Benefit Exemption when purchasing gift vouchers to show appreciation for their staff and also help to boost Irish businesses this Christmas, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Maria Byrne, Fine Gael’s Seanad Finance Spokesperson is highlighting a relaxation of the rules around the Small Benefit Exemption which allows businesses to give employees a tax-free gift voucher twice this year, up to the value of €500 (in total per annum).

Senator Byrne said: “The Small Benefit Exemption enables companies to give a gift voucher up to the value of €500, on which employees will not be required to pay tax.

“The legislation sets out that the Small Benefit Exemption only applies to one qualifying incentive per year.  However, in March 2020, Revenue concessionally agreed to waive this requirement, and so for the 2020 and 2021 years of assessment, companies can avail of the Small Benefit Exemption on two occasions a year, up to the same maximum total per annum of €500.

“This change in the rules applies up to the end of 2021. So I urge employers to take advantage of it this Christmas and show their appreciation of their employees, particularly given that many companies are having to cancel planned Christmas parties due to the pandemic.

“Even if a company has already availed of the exemption when giving a gift voucher to employees this year, they can give a second gift voucher, provided the total amount does not exceed €500.

“This is also potentially great news for Irish businesses who should see a boost as employees spend their gift vouchers in the Christmas and New Year period. It has been a very difficult 20 months for businesses, and we must continue to do everything we can to support them and also to encourage people to shop local. It would be great if companies could buy local vouchers to support local businesses and keep employees in local employment.

“It is important to note that this change to the Small Benefit Exemption was introduced to enable employers to recognise the efforts of their staff in light of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This concession to allow a second tax free gift voucher therefore only applies to employees who have continued to work during the course of the pandemic,” Senator Byrne concluded.


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