Is your business is offering rewards or incentives to your employees and/or the general public to get Covid-19 vaccination or the booster? There may be tax consequences.

With most of Australia and the world still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses, both public and private, are offering rewards and incentives for their employees to get vaccinated and/or get the booster dose. Depending on the type of reward or incentive offered, and whether it is exclusive to employees or the general public, there may be tax consequences for the business.

Non-cash benefits provided to the general public

Businesses that provide free or discounted goods, services, vouchers, gift cards, reward points, or other non-cash benefits (eg entries into a draw to win prizes) to everyone that has had their COVID-19 vaccinations will not be subject to FBT, even if employees take part in the program. This is because the benefit is not provided in respect of the employee’s employment. “Public” in this case denotes both public in general, and a section of the public (ie all members of a particular club).

Non-cash benefits provided to employees

Providing non-cash benefits to employees such as goods and services, vouchers and gift cards, or points in a rewards scheme may be subject to FBT. However, a benefit that has a value of less than $300 may qualify for a minor benefits exemption subject to meeting certain criteria. In the event that the non-cash benefit provided to employees does not qualify for the minor benefit exemption, your business may be entitled to a reduction in taxable value of FBT if the benefit is an in-house benefit.

Businesses can reduce the aggregate taxable value of these benefits by $1,000 if the benefits are not provided under a salary packaging arrangement.

If you provide transport or pay for an employee’s transport to get their COVID-19 vaccination or booster, the travel would be considered to be work-related preventative health care and is exempt from FBT.

For businesses that offer their employees enter into a draw to win prizes as a reward for vaccination, there will be no FBT consequences when the entry to the draw is given to the employee, however, FBT may apply when the winner receives their prize unless an exemption or reduction applies.

Cash payments

If your business gives your employees a cash payment for getting vaccinated, you’ll need to report the payment via Single Touch Payroll (STP) as part of the employee’s salary or wages, withhold tax from the amount under PAYG withholding, and include the amount in your employee’s ordinary time earnings for the purposes of determining super contributions for your employee.

According to the ATO, businesses that have already made cash payments to their employees and have inadvertently failed to withhold tax should make contact with it as soon as practicable to facilitate the possible remission of any failure-to-withhold penalties.

In addition, it reminds businesses that super contributions on cash payments should be made no later than 28 days after the end of the quarter in which the payment was made, otherwise super guarantee charge may apply.


Have a read our other blog articles with up to date information on all things Tax, Super, Finance & Small Business.

We can help you bring your small business documentation and payments together to assist you in understanding your businesses position to do with vaccination incentives.

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