Yours 4 A Day
Yours 4 A Day Ltd. The Working Persons Accountant

How to be Santa to your elves (tax efficient ways to give your staff gifts at Christmas)

Christmas is a time of bonhomie and generosity, manifesting in the workplace through the renowned tradition of employee gift-giving and the office Christmas do.


But without sounding like Scrooge at Fezziwig's party,these activities are still part and parcel of business, subject to tax terms just like any more sober staffing issue.

So as a small business owner, how can you navigate the holidays while staying on the 'nice' list at the HMRC? Here we look at some of the main tax challenges presented by the most wonderful time of the year, and how to handle them without getting singed.

How to Manage Perfomance

How to Manage Performance

A key to any business is how your staff perform. The aim of managing performance is to continuously improve the performance of individuals and that of the organisation. It involves making sure that the performance of employees contributes to the goals of their teams and the business as a whole.

Good performance management helps everyone in the organisation to know:

  • what the business is trying to achieve
  • their role in helping the business achieve its goals
  • the skill and competencies they need to fulfil their role

10 Steps to Cashflow Heaven

1. Set cashflow targets

One way of controlling cashflow is by preparing and maintaining a cashflow forecast. Andrew Johnson, financial controller for telephone conferencing provider Powwownow, advises that this can be updated weekly, to provide an accurate outlook for the next six to 12 months.

He says: "Setting targets for the credit controllers is an excellent way to ensure it is given the attention necessary and provides a level of satisfaction and ownership to hit and beat these."

2. Agree clear payment terms

Late Payroll Filing Penalties

Late Filing Penalties

From 6 October 2014 the HMRC computer will automatically issue you with a penalty if you submit your full payment submission (FPS) under RTI "late", or don't submit it at all for a month in which you paid your employees.

So what makes the FPS "late"? HMRC say the FPS must be submitted on or before the day the employer pays the employees (the "payment date"). But is that the day the funds leave the employer's bank account or the day the employee receives the money?

In fact the "payment date" for RTI purposes is neither of these dates. It is the date contractually agreed between the employer and the employee to be the date on which the employee is to be paid. If the funds happen to be passed to the employee on an earlier or later date, perhaps due to a bank holiday, that doesn't change the "payment date". This is explained in HMRC's RTI guidance on non-banking days.

PAYE Explained

You need to set up a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system if you have employees, or if you are a limited company (as you are counted as an employee). Make sure you've registered as an employer with HMRC before you set it up.

What is PAYE?

  • PAYE is the system used for deducting tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from your employees' wages to pay to HMRC.
  • You have to deduct income tax for all employees earning more than £7,475 a year in tax year 2010/11.
  • You have to deduct NICs for all employees aged 16 years or over and under state pension age who earn more than £110 a week in tax year 2010/11.
  • You apply PAYE to all wages, all payments made in cash (including expenses payments made in cash) and some benefits in kind 
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