Assets ― made available to an employee

Produced by Tolley

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Assets ― made available to an employee
  • Cash equivalent of the benefit
  • Exempt benefits
  • Valuations
  • Obtaining a valuation
  • Reporting requirements
  • Employer
  • Employee
  • Salary sacrifice

Assets ― made available to an employee

If an employer lends an asset (ie the employer retains ownership) to one of its employees for their private use, this gives rise to a taxable benefit chargeable to income tax as employment income. The provision of company cars, company vans and living accommodation have specific rules and so are taxed under separate provisions. Please note that for PAYE purposes, the word employee includes directors.

See the Company cars, Company vans and Living accommodation guidance notes for details of how to calculate the cash equivalent of these benefits.

For 2017/18 onwards, the trigger for a benefit charge to arise is the asset being made available to the employee (or their family or household) for private use. Previously, the legislation used the phrase “placed at the disposal of or is used by...” and so was arguably less widely drawn.

It has always been HMRC’s view that the possibility of private use (rather than actual private use) was sufficient to trigger a benefit in kind charge under these rules. This is put beyond doubt with effect from the 2017/18 tax year via the insertion of new provisions which:

  1. mean for there to be no private use (a) this must be mandated by the terms of use and (b) there must be no private use in the tax year

  2. define when the asset can be treated as unavailable (see below)

Assets which are specifically exempt and can be used by the employee tax-free are listed later in this note.

If the asset is provided to a lower-paid minister of religion (earnings of less than £8,500 per year including cash equivalent of benefits), the benefit is not chargeable to tax. See the Employment income guidance note. For tax years prior to 2016/17, this exemption applied more widely to all lower paid employees who were not directors. See EIM20100.

In September 2010, HMRC issued the Expenses and benefits from employment toolkit, which is a guide for employers

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