The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) will be pressing the next Government of whatever political persuasion to implement its proposals that where a home is provided as a custom rather than as a requirement of employment it should be seen as a taxable benefit based on its open market rental value.
This is a stark warning of what may be to come as the drive continues towards raising tax revenues without raising general income tax rates that would be more widely unpopular.
Company car drivers have long known the personal cost of having a car provided by their employer and this view of taxable perks has been greatly expanded by HMRC to include things such as mobile phones, too.
Many farmers and their staff probably thought the provision of homes would remain under the radar but this is clearly no longer the case.
There will be exceptions – the OTS is proposing that where the employee is required to live in accommodation to enable the protection of buildings, people, or assets; where the employee is required to work long hours; or where residence is a result of regulatory requirements these should continue to bring exemption.