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Tax exemption for COVID antigen test, but not antibody test

19 November: Legislation will come into force on 8 December providing a temporary exemption from income tax and national insurance on coronavirus antigen tests provided to employees.

The regulations coming into force on 8 December will enact this exemption for antigen tests and will apply until 5 April 2021.

The announcement also confirms that HMRC is using its collection and management powers to ensure that no tax or NIC is collected on qualifying tests provided by employers from 6 April 2020.

The legislation is clear that only antigen tests, those that can "detect the presence of a viral antigen or viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)", are exempt.

This means that antibody tests, those that check if someone previously had the virus, remain subject to income tax and NIC under benefit-in-kind rules.