The silly season is upon us. Which means one thing…Christmas carols! Ok, two things. It’s also time to plan your work Christmas party.
Whether your company goes all out or opts for a more laid back approach, your holiday event is a great time to catch up with co-workers outside of the standard work environment as well as reflect on the year that was and thank your team for their hard work. You guys know we’re all about the culture… the holiday season is brimming with opportunities to work on it.
When it comes to party planning and gift giving come Christmas time, there are still tax implications. Fringe benefits tax (FBT) is the tax employers pay on benefits they provide to employees, their family or other associates in addition to, or as part of, their salary or wages. When planning celebrations, we’d recommend a few tricks to help your FBT reporting:
- Location, location, location: Costs associated with Christmas parties such as food and drinks are exempt from FBT if they are consumed by current employees and provided on a working day or on your business premises.
- Magic $300: Keeping the total amount spent per team member below this allows the expense to sit under the threshold for a ‘minor benefit’. These are often exempt from FBT providing such expenses are infrequent and irregular. So keep it to your Christmas & EOFY party.
- Keep your gifts ‘non-entertaining’: Mum was onto something with the socks. Tickets to concerts, movie passes and holidays are classified as entertainment gifts by the ATO and are usually subject to FBT. However, hampers, vouchers, bottles of wine and other similar gifts are classified as ‘non-entertainment’ and are generally exempt from FBT.
Here are our favourite out of the box ideas for celebrations that fit all budgets.
1. Take a class together
Arrange for the group to be schooled on the fine art of cheese and wine pairing, a cooking course or a cocktail masterclass. Not only will your staff learn a fun skill, the activity will break down walls and make for a memorable experience.
2. Holiday themed sports
Take the team out for a competitive activity like mini golf or laser tag but make it festive with holiday costumes. Keep it simple with a ‘Christmas’ theme or split the group into teams like Santa’s vs. Reindeers or Who’s vs Grinches.
3. Trivia with (a bit of) Taste
Deck your favourite venue with drinks & platters. Pick your strongest MC to lead the night (not at all up Jason’s alley) with a few office jokes and Christmas themed questions for guaranteed laughs.
4. Surprise afternoon off to shop
No doubt your employees are craving some time to get their holiday errands out of the way. Start the day with an office brunch and maybe a Secret Santa. When everyone is finished, surprise them with a (paid!) afternoon off to go and shop. They’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness and you can always add a voucher to the mix if you’re feeling extra generous.
5. Boat Party!
Ocean, river or lake. The body of water doesn’t matter! Arrange for good music, drinks & food for a night with your team and their significant others. Everyone loves a booze cruise 😉
6. Long Luncheon
Cut your work day short and take everyone out for a long table lunch. Share food and flowing drinks will spark the holiday spirit and get conversation flowing. An arvo down on the Peninsula, add in some tastings at local wineries and you’re laughing.
The best holiday parties are those that fit your business culture and lift employee morale and spirits. You know what your team are in to, so plan around them! Whatever you choose, have fun and celebrate a year of hard work with lots of bevs, laughs and fun.