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We see a range of common mistakes made when calculating fringe benefit tax (FBT). Some employers may not know what to include and exclude as fringe benefits. 

You should review the rules and rates occasionally to make sure you are doing all of the following:

  • calculating FBT correctly
  • applying any exemptions your business is eligible for
  • using the best rate to suit your circumstances
  • paying the right amount.

Different formulas and calculations are needed to determine the taxable value of a benefit. How your FBT is calculated depends on the types of benefits you provide and whether any exemptions apply.

Some errors in working out the taxable value include:

  • using the incorrect value to calculate motor vehicle value (such as whether to use cost price or tax book value and when to use the GST inclusive value or exclusive value)
  • using the incorrect information to work out the days that vehicles are available for private use
  • incorrect applications of the employee's contribution.

For help working out the taxable value of fringe benefits follow the below links.

Work out the taxable value of employer contributions

Work out the taxable value of a low-interest loan

Work out the taxable value of a motor vehicle

For help working out cost price or tax book value and when to use the GST inclusive value or exclusive values you can refer to the Fringe benefit tax guide - IR409.

There are common misconceptions about when vehicles are exempt from FBT. Especially when the vehicle is a double cab ute. It is important to understand the criteria for a work-related vehicle to be exempt from FBT. 

Utes may be considered work-related as they are dual purpose vehicles, however this does not mean they are automatically exempt from FBT. 

Find out more about FBT on motor vehicles:

Employer provided motor vehicles for private use

GST needs to be accounted for on any benefits provided to employees. This is calculated based on the GST content of the taxable benefit less any GST exempt items.

Some errors include:

  • incorrectly accounting for GST on benefits that are exempt such as loans to employees
  • GST being calculated incorrectly based on the GST content of the FBT value, instead of the taxable benefit value.

Work out the taxable value of fringe benefits

Work out the taxable value of employer contributions

Work out the taxable value of a low-interest loan

Work out the taxable value of a motor vehicle

If an employee makes any payment in return for having a fringe benefit, the payment is deducted when working out the taxable value of the benefit. 

When the employee's contributions are over or understated it results in the fringe benefit being given an incorrect value.

Employer contributions to employee funds

If you provide fringe benefits to shareholder-employees these may be treated differently for FBT purposes. Ensure you check which FBT rules apply to the benefits you are making available to shareholder-employees.

Types of fringe benefits

If you've made a mistake

If you've made a mistake in a return, you can fix this using myIR.

Correct errors on my fringe benefit tax return

Make a voluntary disclosure

Last updated: 26 Jan 2022
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