Workers will be taxed for Covid test

Forcing workers to pay income tax on Covid-19 tests will disincentivise their usage and pose a public health risk, Chancellor warned.

7 Jul 2020| News

Workers will have to pay income tax on employer-bought Covid tests under the latest government policy.

HMRC guidance published yesterday (06 July) makes clear that Coronavirus testing will reduce take-home pay.

This is because the tests – concerned by most to be a health and safety essential not just for workers but for their colleagues and the public –  will be treated as a benefit in kind, a category of non-salary bonus that includes such perks as a company car.

Chair of the Treasury Committee, Mel Stride, urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reverse this decision, warning that the loss of income could deter workers from getting a test and thus pose a public health risk.

“Many employees, especially healthcare and hospitality workers, are required to undergo regular coronavirus testing … the tax bill for workers could soon mount up,” he warned.

“Many of our key workers could be faced with the perverse incentive of avoiding employer-sponsored tests in order to reduce their tax bill.”

The MP has written to Sunak calling on him to rethink his position and asked for verbal confirmation from the Chancellor during Treasury questions today that the matter would be looked into.