Fringe benefits tax - a guide for employers

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Chapter 13 - Board fringe benefits

13.1 What a board fringe benefit is

Providing a meal to an employee is a board fringe benefit if the employee is entitled to have accommodation provided and all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • there is an entitlement under an industrial award to be provided with at least two meals a day, or under an employment arrangement at least two meals a day are ordinarily provided
  • the meal is supplied by you (the employer) - if you are a company, the meal may be supplied by a related company in a wholly owned group
  • the meal is cooked or prepared on your (or a related company's) premises or on a worksite or place adjacent to a worksite
  • the meal is supplied on your premises (or the worksite) or on the premises of a related company.

Some common examples of meals that may be board fringe benefits are:

  • meals provided in a dining facility located on a remote construction site, oil rig or ship
  • meals provided to a live-in housekeeper or to a resident teacher in a boarding school.

Meals supplied to family members living with an employee who is entitled to meals under the employment agreement or award are also treated as board meals and are valued under these rules.

13.2 Taxable value

The taxable value of a board fringe benefit is $2 per meal per person ($1 per person if under the age of 12). You reduce this by any amount the employee pays for the meal. Incidental refreshments such as morning and afternoon teas supplied as part of board are exempt from fringe benefits tax (FBT).

Where you have an agreement in place with your employee, which requires them to make a contribution towards their board meals and their accommodation, you may apportion that contribution on any reasonable basis.

An employee is provided with accommodation and meals at their place of work. The employee contributes $182 a week ($26 a day) towards their accommodation and meals as per their remuneration agreement. The employer apportions the contribution as follows: $6 per day as a contribution towards the three meals provided each day. In effect this will reduce the taxable value of each board fringe benefit to nil. $20 a day will be the employee's contribution towards their accommodation.

Goods and services tax (GST) does not affect the taxable value of board fringe benefits so these benefits are always 'grossed up' at the type 2 rate. For more on GST and FBT, refer to What is fringe benefits tax-:.

Grossing up means increasing the taxable value of benefits you provide to reflect the gross salary employees would have to earn at the highest marginal tax rate (including Medicare levy) to buy the benefits after paying tax.

13.3 Meals provided by others

Where you contract an employee's services to another person who provides the employee with board meals on their premises, the meals are board fringe benefits and you still have the FBT liability.

13.4 Meals that are not board fringe benefits

The following meals are not board fringe benefits:

  • meals provided at a party, reception or other social function
  • meals provided in a dining facility open to the public, except for board meals provided to employees of a restaurant, motel, hotel and so on
  • meals provided in a facility principally used by a particular employee.

Such meals may be property fringe benefits or, if provided by a tax-exempt body, tax-exempt body entertainment fringe benefits.

13.5 Reduction in taxable value where expenditure would have been deductible to the employee

The taxable value of the board fringe benefit is reduced to nil if both of the following apply:

  • you provide a board fringe benefit to an employee
  • they would have been entitled to an income tax deduction if they had paid for the meal.

13.6 Exempt board benefits

Board meals provided to an employee who is employed in a primary production business located in a remote area are exempt benefits (refer to section  20.7 of Fringe benefits tax exempt benefits).

Changes and updates

September 2016


Changes and updates


Updated for style changes

ATO references:
NO Fringe benefits tax - a guide for employers

Fringe benefits tax - a guide for employers
  Date: Version:
  30 March 1997 Original document
  13 December 2013 Updated document
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