Article

FBT Q&A ‘ Council access to minor benefit exemption (s. 58P)

Clarification of a Council’s ability to access the s. 58P (minor benefit) FBT exemption.

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Question:

In relation to s. 58P exemption (minor benefit), can you please clarify when a Council can utilise this? Currently, the minor benefits exemption for tax exempt body entertainment benefits is utilised. However, the minor benefits exemption is only used on a limited basis for other benefits.

Answer:

Section 58P of the FBTAA exempts certain benefits from FBT that can be characterised as minor. Minor benefits are benefits that are less than $300 in value, and which are provided infrequently and/or are difficult to record and value.

TR 2007/12 Fringe benefits tax: minor benefits sets out the Commissioner’s views on the application of this provision.

As stated in paragraph 8 of TR 2007/12:

‘A minor benefit is an exempt benefit under section 58P where:

  • the notional taxable value of the minor benefit is less than $300; and
  • it would be concluded that it would be unreasonable, having regard to the specified criteria in paragraph 58P(1)(f), to treat the minor benefit as a fringe benefit.’

 

The five specific criteria are:

  • infrequency and irregularity with which associated identical or similar benefits are provided;
  • sum of the notional taxable values of the minor benefit and associated benefits which are identical or similar to the minor benefit;
  • sum of the notional values of any other associated benefits;
  • practical difficulty in determining the notional taxable values of the minor benefit and any associated benefits; and
  • circumstances surrounding the provision of the minor benefit and any associated benefits.

 

You should refer to TR 2007/12 as it goes through a number of scenarios of where the minor benefit exemption can apply.

Insofar as tax-exempt body entertainment benefits are concerned, the minor benefit exemption can only be used in two specific situations:

  1. The provision of entertainment to the employee or associate must be merely incidental to the provision of entertainment to outsiders (broadly, persons who are neither employees of the employer nor associates of employees) must not consist of, or be provided in connection with, a meal other than a meal consisting of light refreshments.
  2. The entertainment provided to the employee or associate must be on ‘eligible premises of the employer’ and for the sole purpose of recognising the special achievements of the employee in a matter related to his or her employment.

You may need to review your current use of the minor benefit exemption for tax-exempt body entertainment, given the very narrow ability to use the exemption.

Disclaimer: This article is based upon information available as at the time of publishing and may be subject to change.