The Income Tax treatment of coronavirus tests and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to employees during the coronavirus pandemic is covered under specific HMRC guidance.
The guidance explains how employers should proceed where they are providing coronavirus testing kits, or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their employees.
Coronavirus testing kits
HMRC confirms that coronavirus tests provided by the government to healthcare workers and other eligible front-line as part of its national testing scheme are not treated as a benefit in kind for tax purposes. There is no tax due and you do not need to report a benefit to HMRC.
Further, where an employer separately provides antigen testing kits to their employees or provides tests completed by a third party then no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due.
Personal Protective Equipment
Where employees are working in scenarios where the likelihood of the transmission of coronavirus is very high and a risk assessment determines that PPE is required, then the necessary equipment must be provided to employees free of charge. The PPE must fit correctly. The provision of this PPE to employees is non-taxable.
If an employee requires PPE to complete their job and the employer is unable to provide this, then employers must reimburse the actual expenses of employees purchasing PPE themselves. This is non-taxable and employees cannot claim tax relief on these expenses from HMRC.