Trivial benefits are best described as small ‘token gifts’ and are generally speaking seen as goodwill gestures to staff – items such as bottles of wine, team dinners, flowers or boxes of chocolates.
A trivial benefit must meet the following conditions: Cost £50 or less to provide (per employee), not be cash or a cash voucher, not be a reward for work or performance and not be in the employee’s contract. Perks or gifts directly related to employment are not allowed – such as working lunches, taxis home when working late or incentives based on targets or performance.
If the cost of the benefit is over £50, the whole amount is taxable, not just the excess over £50 and there is a yearly cap of £500 per employee.
Note that directors of ‘close’ companies (limited companies with five or fewer shareholders) can receive trivial benefits but again, not more than £300 during a tax year.