Giving gifts to clients at Christmas time is always popular and may help you win new clients and generate more income for your business. Under Australian Tax Office (ATO) rules, gifts given to a current or former client may be deductible at tax time if they are offered with the intention of generating future assessable income.
However, it is important to seek advice from your accountant or qualified tax professional before deciding to purchase client gifts this Christmas as not all gifts are tax deductible, this includes sporting or theatre tickets, and if the giving is of a personal nature.
Gift giving that is tax deductible
As an example, Sally has a renovation business and decides to give a bottle of champagne to a client who had a renovation completed in the previous 12 months. She expects the gift will either generate future business from the client or make them more inclined to refer others to her business. Although Sally got on well with her client, the gift was not made for personal reasons.
The expense Sally incurred for the champagne is not of a capital nature (ie. expenditure on a long-term asset), so she can claim a deduction.
Gift giving that is not tax deductible
As an example, Bernard’s business sells garden statues and sells one to his brother for $200. Subsequently, he gives a bottle of champagne to his brother worth $170, even though he generally only provides gifts to clients who spent more than $2,500 during the past year. The gift was therefore given for personal reasons, and so Bernard is not entitled to claim a deduction.
Speak to your accountant or qualified tax professional before committing to purchasing gifts for clients this Christmas and to determine what can be claimed as a tax deduction.