The rule of thumb with gifts is that if they consist of food or drink, you can only claim 50% of the expense as a tax deduction. If you are giving out gift baskets or hampers and some of the contents are food or drink, but not all, the food or drink items are 50% deductible but the other gift items are 100% deductible. When you come to claim the tax deduction, you will need to apportion the expense between the 100% deductible items and the 50% deductible items.
Gifts to clients
If your Christmas giving includes gifts to clients, remember that some gifts will be fully deductible while others will be only 50% deductible. Use these examples as a guide.
|Bottle of wine or six pack of beer||Calendar|
|Meal voucher||Book or gift voucher|
|Basket of gourmet food||Tickets to a rugby game
(but not corporate box entertaining)
|Box of chocolates/biscuits||Movie tickets|
|Christmas ham||Presents (not food or drink)|
FBT on gifts and entertainment
If you are giving gifts to your team you may also be liable for fringe benefits tax. There’s a $300 exemption from paying FBT per employee per quarter so if the value of the gift is less than $300 you may be exempt. However, if the value of total benefits for an employee goes over $300 for the quarter year (and provided the total value of all benefits doesn’t exceed $22,500 for the year), the full value of the benefits is subject to FBT.
As for entertainment events, if you invite your team to an event that qualifies as a business-related entertainment expense which is only 50% deductible, you are not liable for FBT as well. So if you are entertaining employees at a party or you’ve hired a launch or holiday accommodation and the expenses for that are only 50% deductible, it isn’t subject to FBT. (On the other hand, if the event is being held outside New Zealand, it will be subject to FBT.)
There are exceptions to this that make it a tricky area so if you’d like more information on a whether a specific event you’re hosting is 50% deductible but may also be liable for FBT, please contact us.