The cost of an annual staff party is allowed as a deduction for tax purposes. However, the cost is only deductible if it relates to employees and their guests, which would include directors in the case of a company, but not sole traders and partners in the case of unincorporated organisations.
As a company director, you are entitled to provide an annual event for yourself, any staff you employ, and your partner, and reclaim the costs against the company, as long as the cost per head does not exceed £150 (including VAT).
The cost per head can include accommodation, transport, and food and drink – but must not exceed the £150 threshold.
You may decide to hold several events throughout the year, but the total claim for all events must not exceed this threshold.
To calculate the cost per head, HMRC states that you should ‘divide the total cost of each function by the total number of people (including non-employees) who attend in order to arrive at the cost per head.
Furthermore, an employer may provide employees with a seasonal gift, such as a turkey, bottle of wine or a box of chocolates at Christmas. All of these gifts are considered to be trivial and as such are not taxable.
One cautionary regarding VAT and staff gifts is that VAT is chargeable by the employer when an employee receives gifts totalling more than £50 in a year.