Hosting a Christmas party for your employees?

Christmas and end of year parties are a great way to celebrate and thank your staff for all their hard work during the year.

If you choose to host a party, make sure you consider health and safety regulations and your tax obligations.

Health and safety at Christmas parties

While your staff may be 'off the clock', you'll probably still be responsible for their health and safety. Here are some suggestions to help your workplace celebrate safely:

1. Send a friendly email to staff before the party reminding them that while the party is a time to relax, it's still a work function. The email should also outline the rules, and remind staff to be careful if they choose to drink alcohol.

2. If you're serving alcohol at the party, make sure it's served responsibly and that there's enough food and non-alcoholic drinks available too.

3. Help your staff get home safely after the event. You could organise a bus, pre-order some taxis, or arrange some designated drivers.

Fringe benefits tax (FBT) implications for Christmas parties

When planning your Christmas party, it's also important to consider any tax requirements.

Generally, you won't have to pay FBT if you host the Christmas party on your business premises, or keep the cost of the party to below $300 per person.

Some Christmas parties can attract FBT, so it's important you consider:

1. the benefits of hosting the party at your business premises

2. the value of any gifts you choose to give to staff

3. whether to invite clients and other associates

4. the cost of catering per person.

Read the Australian Taxation Office's Fringe Benefits Tax and Christmas parties information to find out if your business's Christmas party will attract FBT.

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