Written answers

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein)
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43. To ask the Minister for Finance if his Department plans to review the current small tax benefit particularly around the stipulation allowing businesses to claim tax against one voucher for staff within a financial year and not multiples of up to €500; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15255/22]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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I am advised by Revenue that, where an employer provides an employee or director with a small benefit, that is, a voucher or a benefit (a tangible asset other than cash) with a value not exceeding €500, that benefit will be exempt from Income Tax, PRSI and USC, provided all of the conditions, contained within section 112B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 are satisfied.

The conditions are as follows -

- the incentive is provided in the form of a voucher or other non-cash item;

- where the incentive provided is in the form of a voucher, this voucher must only be for the purchase of goods or services and must not be capable of being exchanged in part or in full for cash;

- the value of the incentive does not exceed €500; and

- the incentive does not form part of a salary sacrifice arrangement.

Where all of the conditions are not satisfied, the exemption does not apply and the benefit is subject to tax in the usual way, in accordance with section 112 TCA 1997.

Concessional Treatment – COVID 19 circumstances

Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may have wanted to recognise efforts of frontline or other key staff working during the crisis, either by accelerating part of a reward usually made later in the year or making an additional award.

Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Revenue has in certain circumstances concessionally waived the requirement that only one voucher issues per year for the 2020 and 2021 tax years and has permitted an employer to issue two vouchers to the (maximum) value of €500. This concessionary treatment will continue to apply for 2022. It applies where the additional award is related to an employee's exceptional efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and where the employee continued to work during the restricted period.

All other conditions of section 112B TCA 1997 must be met, for example the maximum cumulative value of incentives must not exceed €500 and the voucher or incentive must not be redeemable, in full or in part, for cash. Appropriate documentation must be retained by an employer where this concession is availed of.

Further information on the small benefit exemption is available on Revenue’s website including in Tax and Duty Manual Part 05-01-01e.

The scheme continues to be kept under review by my officials but any changes to the scheme could create an additional cost which must be recovered elsewhere.


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