HMRC finally changed its stance on smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry last month, and they now qualify as ‘mobile phones’. This means that smartphones will no longer be treated as a Benefit in Kind, and can be provided to employees without incurring tax.
The change in stance means that smartphones provided for 2011/12 can be treated in the same way as any other mobile phone. It also means that if you provided a smartphone for 2010/11 and years back to 2007/8 you may wish to seek repayment for the Class 1A national insurance contributions (NICs) liability in relation to the benefit.
It is important to note that devices that are solely personal digital assistants (PDAs) like tablets, laptops and those designed for satellite navigation do not fall within the definition of a mobile phone.
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