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How to manage employees with Christmas party time and train strikes

Employers who are worried that they are not be able to run Christmas parties for their staff due to strikes and disruption could put them back or send employees a Christmas hamper.

Robert Salter, a tax services director at tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg, 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 disruption 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 is willing to re-schedule the event. If the employer is able to 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 actually 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, the employer 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 staff at this time of year.”

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