Fringe benefit categories
Various categories of fringe benefits exist under FBT law and specific valuation rules apply for each category.
Car fringe benefits
You have generally received a car fringe benefit when your employer owns or leases a car and you use it privately, or your employer makes it available for your private use.
The following types of vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles, are cars:
- motor cars, station wagons, panel vans and utilities, but not panel vans and utilities designed to carry a load of one tonne or more
- any other goods-carrying vehicle with a carrying capacity of less than one tonne
- any other passenger-carrying vehicle designed to carry fewer than nine passengers.
A car has generally been made available for your private use when any of the following apply:
- you actually use it for private purposes
- you are allowed to use it for private purposes and it is not at your employer's premises
- it is garaged at or near your home, even if you don't have permission to use it privately.
Note: We consider travel to and from work to be private use of a vehicle.
Loan fringe benefits
You have generally received a loan fringe benefit when your employer gives you a loan interest free or at a rate less than the statutory interest rate (usually announced in April each year).
Debt waiver fringe benefits
If you owe a debt to your employer and they release you from your obligation to repay the debt, the unpaid amount may be a debt waiver fringe benefit.
Expense payment fringe benefits
You have generally received an expense payment fringe benefit when your employer pays for or reimburses an expense you incur. These can be expenses you incur for business or private purposes, or a combination of both.
Housing fringe benefits
You have generally received a housing fringe benefit when your employer provides you with accommodation as your usual place of residence, either rent-free or at a reduced rent.
A unit of accommodation includes:
- a house, flat or home unit
- accommodation in a house, flat or home unit
- accommodation in a hotel, motel, guesthouse, bunkhouse or other living quarters
- a caravan or mobile home
- accommodation on a ship or other floating structure.
Board fringe benefits
You have generally received a board fringe benefit when your employer provides you with accommodation and you are entitled to at least two meals a day. For example, meals you receive from a dining facility located on a remote construction site, oil rig or ship may be a board fringe benefit.
Airline transport fringe benefits
Airline transport fringe benefits are not a separate category of fringe benefit – they are now either in-house property or in-house residual fringe benefits and are taxed under the in-house benefit rules. An airline transport fringe benefit is received if you are an employee of an airline or a travel agent and your employer provides you with free or discounted air travel on a stand-by basis.
Living-away-from-home allowance fringe benefits
You have generally received a living-away-from-home allowance fringe benefit when you receive an allowance from your employer to cover additional expenses you incur because you are required to temporarily live away from your usual place of residence in order to perform your employment duties.
Property fringe benefits
You have generally received a property fringe benefit when you receive property from your employer either for free or at a discount. Property includes:
- all goods, such as clothing or a cylinder of heating gas
- real property, such as land and buildings
- other property, such as shares.
You have generally received a fringe benefit when you receive entertainment from your employer in the form of food, drink or recreation. There is no specific category of fringe benefit called an entertainment fringe benefit, but the following types of fringe benefits occur when entertainment is provided:
- an expense payment fringe benefit, such as the cost of theatre tickets you buy that your employer reimburses you for
- a property fringe benefit, such as your employer providing you with food and drink
- a residual fringe benefit, such as your employer providing you with accommodation or transport in connection with such entertainment
- a tax-exempt body entertainment fringe benefit.
Tax-exempt body entertainment fringe benefits
You have generally received a tax-exempt body entertainment fringe benefit if your employer is wholly or partially exempt from income tax and they provide you with entertainment in the form of:
- accommodation or travel in connection with such entertainment.
Car parking fringe benefits
You have generally received a car parking fringe benefit if your employer provides you with car parking and both of the following apply:
- there is a commercial car park within a one-kilometre radius of the car park your employer provides
- that commercial car park charges a fee for all-day parking that is more than the car parking threshold (usually announced in May each year).
Residual fringe benefits
Any fringe benefit that is not subject to any of the other categories is called a residual fringe benefit. You can receive a residual fringe benefit when your employer provides you with any right, privilege, service or facility that has not already been mentioned.
Some examples include:
- your use of your employer's property, such as a video camera or television
- a service your employer provides, such as advice from a solicitor
- your private use of your employer's motor vehicle that is not a car for FBT purposes, such as a one tonne ute.