Finally, a bit of good news that has nothing to do with the Budget … just keep it to yourself or it is bound to become a casualty in Budget 2012!

Gift vouchers shops are reporting a surge in corporate sales as employers seek to minimise tax payments in the run-up to Christmas, The Sunday Business Post reports.

The Revenue’s small benefit exemption scheme allows employers to gift their employees up to €250 a year without it being liable to PAYE, PRSI or income and healthy levies. However, the exemption doesn’t relate to cash.

After tax and levies are paid, it would cost an employer up to €565 to give a cash bonus of €250 to an employee earning the higher rate of tax. A voucher only costs the employer its face value.

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