Further clarity given on health screening tax exemptions

Organisations may have to offer all employees employer-funded health screening in order to qualify for the available tax exemption, following amendments to legislation.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has said that the amendment to the Income Tax (Exemption of Minor Benefits) Regulations 2002, which came into force on 14 August 2007, means that health screening must not only be offered to all employees but must be paid for by the employer in order for tax exemptions to apply.

An HMRC spokesman said: “All employees must have the opportunity of health screening or a medical check up provided (that is to say paid for) by their employer if the exemption is to apply.” However, it has not been stated that all employees must take-up the benefit for tax relief.

Dudley Lusted, head of corporate healthcare development, Axa PPP Healthcare, said that it is  seeking confirmation from HMRC on whether employers could still provide different levels of health screening for various employee groups.

“We are hoping that as long as employers offer screening for all and then pay for it for all those people that want to take it, not everyone has to have the same thing. So senior people can have something more expensive than junior people. Now I think they will turn around and say it’s all got to be the same for everybody, but it doesn’t say that in the legislation,” he explained.