On 14 August two Statutory Instruments (SIs 2007/2090 & 2007/2091) introduced a statutory exemption from income tax and National Insurance for certain health screenings and medical check-ups with effect from 6 April 2007. Previously, HMRC's view of medical check-ups paid for by an employer was that "the provision of routine health checks or medical screening for employees does not confer a chargeable benefit on those employees. This applies whether the check-ups are carried out by an employer's own medical staff or by an outside firm. It follows that routine health checks do not need to be returned on P11D."
Under the new rules, the conditions for granting relief have been tightened.
The terms "health screening" and "medical check-up" are now statutorily defined, and the exemption applies to the provision of up to one health screening and one medical check-up each year. In addition, in order to benefit from the exemption, the health screenings or medical check-ups must be generally available to all employees (or, for medical check-ups, to all of those identified through the health screening process as needing a check-up).
Although the new legislation was backdated to 6 April 2007, HMRC have said that it will only be applied from 14 August 2007 and that, where screenings or check-ups have taken place between 6 April 2007 and 13 August 2007, based on the previous guidance HMRC will accept that they are exempt from tax even if the screenings or check-ups were not made available to all employees.
Consequently, the requirement that screening and/or check-ups should be available to all employees only takes effect from 14 August 2007.
The CIOT would be interested to know of any effect the new legislation may have on employers (eg where existing commitments to employees potentially create a tax charge, which would not have arisen under HMRC's previous guidance, or increased administration costs in keeping track of arrangements, etc). Please send any comments to email@example.com with "Medical check-ups - FAO Matthew Brown" in the subject line.
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