Tax tips: Gifts to employees and company parties


Tis the season to be jolly…… know these tax rules:


Nontaxable gifts. Fruit baskets, hams, turkeys, wine, flowers and occasional entertainment tickets, such as to a show or sports event, generally are nontaxable as de minimis fringe benefits.

Taxable gifts. Gift certificates (“cash in kind”) are wages subject to FIT, FITW, FICA, and FUTA—even for a de minimis item. For example, a gift certificate for a turkey is taxable even though the gift of a turkey is not. Cash gifts of any amount are wages subject to all taxes and withholding. [26 CFR 1.132-6(e); TAM 200437030]

Parties and picnics. The cost of occasional parties is nontaxable to employees and their families as a de minimis fringe—if they are infrequent and for the purpose of promoting employee health, goodwill, contentment, or efficiency. Examples: occasional holiday celebrations, cocktail parties and company picnics. Such parties are fully deductible to the business (they are not subject to the 50% limit on business meals). [IRC §132]

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