Following some criticism of the original HMRC confirming a tax and Class 1A liability, the government are making a legal change.
HMRC have confirmed the following on Thursday 9th July 2020.
Coronavirus tests provided by the government, as part of its national testing scheme, are not treated as a benefit in kind for tax purposes.
This means that if you employ healthcare workers and other eligible front-line staff who get a test through this programme, there is no tax due and you do not need to report a benefit to HMRC….
If you’re providing testing kits to your employees, outside of the government’s national testing scheme, either directly or by purchasing tests that are carried out by a third party, no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due.
The Government is legislating for this through regulations, and guidance will be updated shortly.
There is the letter of the law and the spirit of what law if for. It is good to see that the government is applying some sense to historic legal taxation positions and where necessary applying appropriate legal concessions.
So Tuesday it was taxable, Wednesday the information was withdrawn, and Thursday confirmation that such test provision is not taxable.