Employment taxes update - Late night taxis for bar staff

Accountancy's monthly round-up of the latest employment tax developments.

As the nights draw in, taxis home for staff in the leisure industry become more prevalent. Clubs, fast-food outlets, pubs, restaurants and call centres all employ workers on shifts where transport home is regular and part of the package, not exempt from tax. Increasingly, Inland Revenue compliance officers are seeking to tax such travel as ordinary commuting and where the cost pushes an individual's remuneration over 8,500, there could be grounds for this.

However, there are two possible avenues to consider in seeking to avoid such a charge. The first is how the cost of the journey/benefit is arrived at: the cost of a shared taxi or minibus needs to be divided between all the users. The second is whether the users are P9D or P11D employees.

If the cost of providing the travel doesn't push the employee into the P11D bracket, then the measure of the benefit for a P9D employee is its second-hand value. For a place in an employer-provided shared taxi, this is clearly nil. Reimbursement of taxi fares home is, of course, a cash payment rather than a benefit, and remains taxable and NICable in full.

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