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Christmas Tax Facts and Trivia to Raise a Seasonal Smile

Posted by Jennifer Nelson

Are you a Tax Manager, Tax Director or tax professional? Do you think you know all there is to know about tax? Well, with Christmas around the corner and the festive party season underway, what could be more appropriate than Christmas tax trivia and facts? Who knows, it may even be a topic of conversation around your Christmas dinner table this year…

Let the Trivia begin!

Christmas shop:

· The average home will splash out £809.97 at Christmas; on food and drink, travel, decorations and presents, with the latter accounting for 58.5% of the budget.

· Tax accounts for more than half of the total cost of the average family’s Christmas alcohol shop, a study by the wine and spirits industry has found. While alcohol duties are typically higher per head in Finland, Ireland and Germany, British consumers pay more alcohol tax than the citizens of most other European Union member states.

Decorations:

· The cost of decorating your office is tax deductible as running costs of the office.

Candle Taxes:

· From 1709 to 1831 Great Britain had a candle tax and forbade people to make their own candles without a licence. This tax condemned generations to rushlights (candles made from dipping rushes in animal fat) or darkness, not just at Christmas but throughout the year. You could light both ends at once but rush lights burnt quickly - hence the term ‘burning the candle at both ends’. The unpopular tax helped to ensure that the means of candle production was controlled.

Snowballs:

· A VAT tribunal found that a Snowball (the marshmallow variety you eat) is, in fact, a cake, so just like Jaffa cakes, Snowballs are zero-rated for VAT.

The Christmas day service:

· 13% of families in the UK always attend church on Christmas Day, a number of countries in Europe have a church tax including Austria, Iceland and Germany

Christmas turkeys:

· 10 million – The number of Turkeys cooked in the UK every Christmas.  It is often traditional for some employers to provide their employees with a small gift of a Christmas turkey, a bottle of wine or box of chocolates. The tax rules are that if employees earn at the rate of £8,500 per annum their benefits must, therefore, be declared on form P11D and they are taxed at the cost to their employer.

Christmas Day tax filing:

· While millions of people are exchanging presents, feasting on turkey, and nodding off in front of the television, 1,600 people are expected to take time out from the yuletide festivities and do their tax return online.

Hopefully, this stockingful of tax facts and trivia have been of interest and that you enjoy the festive season to come!

For more information about this article, or to speak to Jennifer about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on jennifer.nelson@pro-tax.co.uk

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