07 Jun 2019 Member 110’s comment regarding Bruce Quigley’s Senior Adviser’s Report ‘Simplifying the FBT Minor Benefits Exemption’
Editor’s note: Bruce Quigley’s article can be found in TaxVine 16 (3 May 2019).
MEMBER 110’s comments in TaxVine:
I just read Bruce Quigley’s TaxVine article regarding simplification of the minor benefits rule. I’m not sure I’m reading it correctly – is 10 meals per year the proposed number of meals to be considered infrequent? Would one per month therefore be ineligible for the exemption? If my interpretation is correct, that is surely seriously conservative and favouring the ATO, especially when you highlight 47 taxi trips as being ok. I might be missing something. Surely even 20 lunches (that are not regularly scheduled of course) per year should be ok. Query whether actually putting a number on it simplifies the matter at all.
Bruce Quigley’s response:
Thanks for your feedback.
You are correct that the article (and the submission on which it is based) is somewhat conservative. The key reason for this is that we are seeking to get the ATO to commit to minor benefit levels that can be used by all taxpayers as a “safe harbour”, that is, a level that will in all circumstances be acceptable to the ATO. This necessarily entails a slightly more conservative approach.
Most importantly though from your perspective, it is not intended to set a prescriptive level beyond which the minor benefit exemption will not apply in all cases. Therefore, it will still be open to any taxpayer to apply their own facts and circumstances and come to their own conclusion.