The Company Christmas Party in 2020 – Time for Virtual!

The Company Christmas Party in 2020 – Time for Virtual!


The Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have put a stop to the annual office party and have forced employers to think of alternative ways to wish employees a happy Christmas and to boost morale.  


Christmas parties

Employers are allowed to host an annual event. This doesn’t have to be at Christmas, it could be held at any time of the year, the key here is that it is an annual event and is made available to all employees, or all in a particular location where an employer has more than one location, at a cost of less than £150 per head.


All costs of providing the event must be counted when calculating the ‘per head’ cost. This could include:


Food and drink

Transport and accommodation that enables an employee to attend


This list isn’t exclusive.


If the cost exceeds £150, then the whole amount will become taxable.


HMRC has now confirmed, that where all normal conditions are met, virtual events can be included when considering the £150 exemption.


An example of this may be a company holds one annual function in a tax year and does so virtually using IT. All employees are invited and each is provided with a hamper consisting of some food and drink to be enjoyed by the attendees during the party. The total cost per head is £100 which is within the £150 exemption and so the exemption applies.

This is great news to almost half of employers who confirmed in a recent poll, that they fund the full amount incurred for hosting the annual Christmas party.


Trivial benefits

The statutory exemption lays out certain criteria that must be met in order to be counted as a trivial benefit which ensure that:

The benefit is not cash or a cash voucher

The cost to provide does not exceed £50

The benefit is not provided as a contractual entitlement

The benefit is not provided in return for a normal service (or services) expected by the employee – e.g. hitting a pre-set performance target


Common examples seen include a gift of flowers on a birthday, a turkey at Christmas, or a modest layette on the birth of a child. More than one trivial benefit can be provided during the year; however, where the employer is a close company and the trivial benefits are given to a director, office holder or members of their families or households, an annual limit of £300 exists.


When all else fails

Otherwise referred to as a Christmas bonus, arguably a cash gift could present the employer with the most simple solution for saying thank you to their employees and spreading a little cheer during the festive season. Even a modest cash bonus can bring out the child in us (who didn’t love a £5 note from a favourite Aunt or Uncle tucked into our birthday or Christmas cards)?


A gift such as this, and for whatever reason it is given, will be subject to PAYE income tax and Class 1 NICs but the amount that the employee receives in their pay will depend upon their individual circumstances, and particular tax bands.


How do employers normally celebrate during the Christmas period?

A recent survey found that most employers demonstrated their Christmas spirit, and provided gift vouchers (4%), turkeys (1%), chocolates/biscuits (4%), a cash bonus (4%), an annual party (35%) and even some (1%) employers showering unlimited generosity (budget allowing). There remained a some Scrooge-like behaviour, with 46% of respondents admitting to being provided with nothing from their employers at Christmas. Bah Humbug!

Updated Job Support Scheme

Updated Job Support Scheme 


Are you aware of the new government support available for your business and employees?


A newly updated Job Support Scheme will replace the furlough scheme on 1 November, in an attempt to help business owners retain their staff.


If you have to close your business, your staff could receive 67% of their wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. The employee must be off work for a minimum of seven days to be eligible. You won’t have to pay towards their salary.


What if your business is open but not busy?


If your business can stay open but your employees have less work available, they can work part-time and still receive extra support. This is regardless of which tier you’re in.


You will have to pay your staff to work at least 20% of their usual hours per month. You must pay an extra 4% of total wages, and the government will pay 49% of their total salary.


In total, the employee would receive at least 73% of their salary for working 20% of their contracted hours. The maximum contribution the government will make is £1,541.75. To qualify, you must have been on your work’s payroll since 23 September.


You can be moved on and off the scheme, or work different hours, but each working arrangement must cover at least seven days. The scheme will run for six months from 1 November, and then be reviewed.


A grant available to self-employed people affected by coronavirus has also been doubled to 40% of profits, with a maximum grant of £3,750 over a three-month period.



At Integrity Accountancy Services, we are more than happy to help more businesses receive these support payments and grants. Even if you would just like to know more information about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0121 777 5361


Brexit- EORI Number

EORI Number


Is your business ready for Brexit?

EORI Number Application:
An EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) is a code required when dealing with international customs when moving goods.
If you plan to, or currently, export goods then from the 1st of January 2021 you will need an EORI Number to avoid incurring extra costs and delays.
At present, you don’t need one to move goods to EU countries but still need one to export goods from countries outside of the EU, until the UK’s Brexit transition period is over.
Do you already have an EORI Number? Ensure it starts with ‘GB’- if it doesn’t then we can help you receive a new code as required from the 1 January 2021.
It’s best to get your code sorted before next year, and we can get this to you within 1 week of application. If you are interested in this service, or have any questions at all regarding the EORI number, please feel free to contact us on 0121 777 5361.

Green Home Energy Grant

Green Home Energy Grant

If you’re a homeowner or residential landlord you can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to your home.  These vouchers are available now!  Apply here.


Improvements could include insulating your home to reduce your energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces.


You must redeem the voucher and ensure improvements are completed by 31 March 2021.


Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000.  Additionally, if you receive certain benefits, you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value is £10,000.


The voucher must be used to install at least 1 primary measure (insulation or low-carbon heating) and secondary measures (including window glazing, draught proofing etc).


For more information on the specific measures, please see the government’s website.


The voucher will cover any labour, material and VAT costs.


You must receive at least 1 quote from a Green Homes Grant registered installer in order to apply for a voucher.


Once your voucher has been issued, the installer can begin the work.


To redeem your voucher you’ll need to confirm that:

  • the installation was completed satisfactorily before the voucher expiry date
  • you have received the necessary documents from the installer
  • you have paid your share of the costs to the installer (if applicable)
  • you meet the relevant eligibility requirements


You will need to provide a dated copy of the invoice issued by the installer.



If you would like any help with applying for this voucher, or information on any other government support available, please feel free to contact us for a free meeting with a Chartered Management Accountant.

0121 777 5361

Covid-19 Self Isolation Grant

New £500 Self Isolation Grant


Amid the recent announcement of tougher restrictions across the UK, the Government has set up a new self isolation grant to help support those who need financial help while they self-isolate. We are now told to go into a 14-day quarantine if we have been notified by the NHS Test and Trace system that we have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Boris Johnson said earlier this week: “I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate. That’s why we’re also introducing a new £500 Test and Trace Support payment for those on low incomes who are required by NHS Test and Trace to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.”



When will the grant be available?
The new grant will be released on October 12 once local authorities have set up the scheme. Anyone who is told by the NHS they must self-isolate from September 28 onwards will be able to claim this grant if they are eligible.


Who is eligible for the self isolation grant?
The grant will be available to those who are:
• Told by NHS Track and Trace to self-isolate
• Unable to work from home and will receive less income as a result
• Employed or self-employed
• Currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-Based -Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, -Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.


If you have any questions regarding this matter, or on any other government schemes currently available, feel free to contact us on 0121 777 5361 to arrange a free meeting with a Chartered Management Accountant.