Paying For Employee Eye Tests

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around employers offering eye tests and corrective glasses for their computer users. There is law mandating this, but HMRC is beginning to consider this a benefit-in-kind ...

So, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 says that employers must assist employees on request, but HMRC is changing its mind around the subject when an employee pays out and the employer reimburses them.

This has raised some serious concerns, especially since all office-based employees now use computer systems for extended periods daily!

While a tax exemption exists for such tests and glasses provided in line with health and safety regulations, HMRC's new guidance suggests that reimbursed costs might be taxable. This addition, without proper communication or consultation, has been criticised extensively. The original intent of the legislation was to exempt such reimbursed costs, and there's hope that HMRC will revise its guidance.

How will this unpublicised change in HMRC's guidance impact the relationship between employers and employees regarding eye tests? And what implications might arise for smaller employers who don't have the resources to set up corporate accounts with opticians?

Given the original intention of the legislation, I feel that HMRC really does need to reconsider its position.

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