Tax rules clarification due expected

Benefits experts hope that the tax rules around tax-free health screening and authorised mileage allowance payment (Amap) rates will be clarified in the Budget on 12 March.

Last August, new tax rules concerning health screening came into force, making the perk taxable as a benefit-in-kind, unless employers pay for it for all staff.

However, following industry pressure, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) later did a U-turn and said it would not collect tax and national insurance on the perk for the current tax year. At the same time, it launched a consultation on the rules.

Inez Anderson, tax director at Smith & Williamson, said: “The government published new rules saying that if health screening was made available to all staff, it was exempt [from tax], but if made available to only certain grades or groups, it would be taxable. This hasn’t been cleared up yet, so there may be some clarification.”

Experts are also awaiting further clarification on the future shape of Amaps, the rates at which employers can reimburse their drivers tax-free for business miles driven, and tax relief for business expenditure on cars, following several reviews and consultations by the Treasury and HMRC.

Stewart Whyte, director of ACFO, the industry body for fleet operators, said: “Officials have been conducting reviews and consultations on these and other issues over an extended period, and it is now time the new fiscal rules are announced, with a time-table for their introduction.”