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Q: Is the provision of medical check-ups and eyesight tests a reportable benefit?
A: The provision of private medical treatment or private medical insurance is an employment-related benefit and must be reported on form P11D. However, such benefits are not taxable if provided to lower-paid employees, i.e. employees with an earnings rate that is less than £8,500. As a result, there is no P9D reporting requirement.
Although periodic medical check-ups may be considered to be a benefit if they are a provision of the employment contract, HMRC’s guidance to tax inspectors states: “Do not treat expenses incurred by the employer in providing periodic medical check-ups for employees or for members of their families or households, as conferring a chargeable benefit on those employees.”
Eyesight tests and the provision of glasses are not taxable if they are provided as a result of the requirements of the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. This is also an HMRC concession as the exemption is not specified in statute. No chargeable benefit arises on the provision of:
- an eyesight test
- the cost of spectacles required that are solely for use with a visual display unit (VDU)
- where spectacles are for general use but include a special prescription for VDU use, a proportion of the cost relating to the special prescription.
Glasses that are provided for general use as well as for use with a VDU are not treated as a taxable benefit as long as they include a special prescription for VDU work. However, if glasses are provided or payment is made toward glasses that do not include a special prescription for VDU work, or if expensive frames and lenses are provided, the full cost is reportable.
To avoid Class 1 NICs liabilities, the employer should arrange for and finance the eyesight tests and spectacles if required, not the employee.
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