As the Christmas party season approaches, employers are being reminded that annual staff parties are potentially tax-free.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) has highlighted that HMRC allows companies an annual tax-free amount of up to
The risks of gossip and Christmas parties have been highlighted in the case of SJ Nixon v (1) Ross Coates Solicitors (2) R Coates (2010).
Following the work Christmas party, Ms Nixon complained that her HR manager had spread gossip about the paternity of her child, that her employer failed to control this and that the way she had been treated amounted to harassment. Her complaint was rejected by the Employment Tribunal; it was considered that the gossip could not possibly be regarded as intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating.
However, Ms Nixon was successful in her appeal; the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that harassment had taken place as the gossip was