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Are your workers ‘Fit for Work’? or would use of a tax free fitness option help?

Fotolia_47197069_XS gym

Now Christmas is over and we may have eaten more than we should, many of us will be thinking of getting back into shape.

Did you know the NHS daily recommendation for steps per day is 10,000 steps and a recent article in Workplace Savings and Benefits pointed out that according to an American study:

  • Secretaries take 4,300 steps per day
  • Lawyers take 5,000 steps per day
  • Construction and Factory 9,000 steps per day

Sickness absence in the UK costs £17bn per year.

You could reduce sickness by promoting an active lifestyle and it could be tax efficient too!

HMRC allow tax free treatment provided sporting or recreational facilities (or vouchers that are exchangeable for their use) that meet all of the following conditions:

  • The facilities are available for use by all of your employees.
  • The facilities aren’t available to the general public.
  • The facilities are used mainly by employees or former employees or members of employees’ families and households. (The facilities don’t have to be used mainly by your employees – this condition also covers use of the facilities by employees of other employers if you’ve grouped together with them to provide the facilities.

The tax and NICs exemption doesn’t apply if you provide any of the following:

  • facilities based at premises used wholly or mainly as a private dwelling
  • holiday or other overnight accommodation (including any associated sporting facilities)
  • use of a mechanically propelled vehicle (including road vehicles, boats and aircraft)

So that seems to rule out most Gyms, so what can you do?

Personal Trainers could be your ‘sports facility’ provided they are made available to all employees as part of  a benefits package

Join a club run by other employers, many large businesses have their own sports and social club perhaps your company could use their facilities

Get together with other employers and hire a local Gym or Health Club at specific times for example set evenings and exclude members of the public on those evenings

If these options don’t work for you, you could still get your employer to pay for Gym Membership as part of your package, the benefit in kind tax will be less than if you pay direct out of net pay.

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