'Tis the season of gift-giving - or is it?
'Tis the season of gift-giving - or is it? Contributed

Are you buying your boss a gift this Christmas?

WITH more than 70% of Aussies attending a work Christmas party this December you would think the festive spirit was well and truly intact.

However research by national bookkeeping franchise, First Class Accounts, paints a different story entirely. While many employers are splashing the cash on a staff shindig this Christmas, it appears the majority of employees are just not feeling the festive love.

In fact, almost two thirds (64%) of those questioned as part of the research said they would rather swap the work Christmas party for time off or money.

While the survey showed more than a third of work Christmas parties were going to be bigger than last year's, one in 10 employees said they would only be attending because they had to.

Despite the apathy towards partying with our colleagues it seems we're still a generous lot when it comes to gift-buying. More than a third of Aussie workers intended to buy presents for at least one colleague with one in five planning to spend more than $20.

However if you're the boss, you may not be quite so lucky. Just 19% of people said they would embrace their inner Santa and offer a gift to their manager. 

First Class Accounts CEO Joe Piovesan said while it was great to see companies forking out for bigger and better parties this year it was important that those planning them were familiar with the tax rules and regulations around staff events.

"With all the excitement around Christmas and the accompanying celebrations it is quite easy to overlook the tax implications associated with staff parties," he said.

"Employers and party planners should ensure they are fully up to speed with current fringe benefit tax (FBT) rules.

"For example, holding a Christmas party onsite for employees only is exempt from FBT whereas hosting a party for associates and clients that costs more than $300 per head including GST is subject to FBT."

Mr Piovesan added that while FBT rules do not apply to gifts provided to clients, taxable fringe benefits may arise from Christmas gifts to employees costing more than $300.

"Gifts that are viewed as 'entertainment', such as tickets to a concert or a football match, which are over the $300 including GST limit, may also be taxable," he said. 

"If you're unclear on any of the above my advice is to visit the ATO to double check or ask your accountant.

"That way you can relax and enjoy the festive season without worrying about other 'taxing' issues."

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