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Queen Elizabeth deserves a long service award - does one of your employees?

by , 05 June 2013
Yesterday marked 60 years since Queen Elizabeth formally pledged to serve Britain at her coronation ceremony. That's a long time to be in the same job. Too bad this 'job for life' doesn't come with long service perks. If you have an employee who's been in your company 15 years or more and are considering giving them an award for long service, make sure you understand the tax implications...

'A fanfare of trumpets and cheering crowds greeted Queen Elizabeth to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her coronation with a service at Westminster Abbey featuring a priceless crown that has adorned the heads of British monarchs for 350 years,' CBC News reported yesterday.

And while the queen decided to spend the rest of the day in private, employees who serve in a company 15 years or longer usually expect some type of fanfare to mark the occasion.

Should you reward your employees for long service?

These days, it seems company loyalty doesn't really count for much.

At least that's what it looks like since most South African groups don't support the act of giving long service awards in their quest to reduce unnecessary expenditure.

And this could be a factor behind why '91% of Millennials ([those] born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years,' reports Forbes. They tend to have 15 to 20 jobs over the course of their working lives

But rewarding your employee's loyalty is a great way to encourage new employees to stay on and to show employees how much you appreciate them.

That said, warns The Practical Vat Handbook, 'before you give an employee a gift or an award for long service you'd better be careful! You need declare this perk on the employee's IRP5 certificate.'

Does your company's long service award meet these tax-exemption criteria?

According to MoneyWeb, 'any award made to recognise long service is tax-exempt provided that all of the following conditions are met:'

  • The award isn't paid in cash. (That means gift vouchers are out!)
  • The value of the award doesn't exceed R5 000; and
  • The award is for an initial period of 15 years of uninterrupted service and periods of ten years thereafter.

So before you reward your employee for long service, make sure you know what the tax implications for doing so will be and don't forget to declare it on their IRP5.

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