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Employer provided Blackberrys and iPhones

HMRC now accepts that smartphones such as iPhones and Blackberrys satisfy the conditions to qualify as 'mobile phones'.

An employer can provide an employee with a single mobile phone for private use without creating a taxable benefit. However this exemption does not apply to computers.

Since the current rules came in a few years ago, HMRC has held the view that iPhones and Blackberrys are personal digital assistants (PDAs) so like computers rather than phones. Until now, this has meant that private use of these devices could lead to a taxable benefit unless that element was small.

Employers who have provided a smartphone in 2011/12 should treat it in the same way as any other mobile phone. So only include a benefit on form P11D for any mobile phone/smart phone that is either

  • not the first one issued to the employee, or
  • provided to a member of the employee's family or household rather than to the employee personally.

Employers who provided a smartphone between 2007/08 and 2010/11 can seek repayment of the Class 1A NICs paid on the benefit of the smartphone. Please contact us if you require assistance with this.