HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

EIM21765 - Particular benefits: cost of periodic health screening and medical check-ups, and eye tests

Section 320B ITEPA 2003, section 266(3)(g) ITEPA 2003, section 267(2)(i) ITEPA 2003, section 55 FA 2009

Medical check-ups

Do not treat expenses incurred by the employer in providing a health-screening assessment or a medical check-up for employees, as conferring a chargeable benefit on those employees. If an employer incurs expenses in providing check-ups for members of an employee’s family or household this represents a benefit chargeable on the employee unless the family or household member is also an employee of the employer who provides the check-up.

Position from 6 April 2009

From this date, the exemption described above applies to:

  • no more than one health-screening assessment in any tax year
  • no more than one medical check-up in any tax year.

A “health-screening assessment” means an assessment to identify employees who might be at a particular risk of ill-health. An example of this is where employees are asked to complete questionnaires or telephone interviews about their general health and lifestyle, with a view to identifying higher risk employees who may then be invited to a medical check-up.

A “medical check-up” means a physical examination of the employee by a health professional for (and only for) determining the employee’s state of health. There is no requirement for the employee to first of all undergo a health-screening assessment for a medical check-up to qualify for exemption.

Medical checks that are connected to the provision of medical treatment are not covered by the terms of the exemption.

Where an employee has more than one employer at the same time (for example, is a director of a number of companies in a corporate group), the restriction to one health-screening assessment and one medical check-up in any tax year is applied across the group as a whole.

The exemption also applies where an employer provides a non-cash voucher or credit-token for the employee to use in order to obtain a health-screening assessment or medical check-up.

Position before 6 April 2009

Section 210 ITEPA and S.I. 2007 No. 2090

The exemption that is now in section paragraph above describes a long-standing non-statutory HMRC practice. From 14 August 2007, this practice was replaced by a statutory exemption (S.I. 2007/2090) under regulations laid under section 210 ITEPA to exempt from charge minor benefits. However, HMRC announced that for a transitional period it would refrain from applying the regulations and once this period expired, the regulations were replaced by section 320B ITEPA 2003. The effect of this is that in practice the non-statutory HMRC practice (which is very similar to the provisions of section 320B) applied up to 5 April 2009.

Section 320A ITEPA 2003

Where an employee is required to use a visual display unit (VDU) as part of his or her normal duties, no chargeable benefit will arise on:

  • an eyesight test
  • the cost of spectacles or contact lenses required solely for VDU use that an eyesight test shows are necessary where

the test is required under Health and Safety at Work regulations and, if shown to be necessary by the test, the corrective appliances (e.g. glasses and contact lenses) are available generally to employees.

Where spectacles are for general use, but include a special prescription for VDU use, a proportion of the cost relating to the special prescription will be exempt from a chargeable benefit.

The provision or payment towards the cost of spectacles for general use, including use with a VDU, which do not include a special prescription for VDU use will give rise to a taxable benefit.