Up until 2004, there was no tax regulation in Ireland about employee rewards, apart from lunch vouchers provided by employers to staff. This led to many employee reward programmes being effectively run as tax-free remuneration schemes, and eventually the government stepped-in to set some tax rules. Thus was born the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme.
The “Small Benefit Exemption Scheme” or “Small Benefit Scheme” as it is more commonly known, was announced by the Irish Government in the 2004 Budget and came into existence on 1st January 2004.
It was introduced as part of a new Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax system introduced that year, which did away with PRSI relief for employers who provided luncheon vouchers to employees.
The original maximum threshold amount for the scheme was €100 per employee per year, and this was increased to €250 in 2005. The 2015 Finance Bill extended the threshold to €500 from October 2015.
For more about the Small Benefit Scheme, download our definitive guide -