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Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) today dismissed claims in The Sun and The Times that changes to employee benefit rules mean BlackBerries are likely to be taxed as a personal benefit.

A spokesman for HMRC was blunt: "It's garbage."

He explained: "If an employer loans a BlackBerry to an employee so they can do their job there is no tax implication. And the suggestion that we are going to go around counting people's emails is ludicrous - we've got bigger and more important things to do."

The spokesman said he was loaned a CrackBerry by his employer to do his job as a press officer, but didn't use it for personal emails because: "It's my work email address and they're too awkward to use..."

The actual advice from August's revised rules reads:

Employers are not expected to keep detailed records of every instance of actual private use in order to substantiate a claim for exemption. The "not significant" condition should not be decided purely on the absolute time spent on different uses of the equipment or services provided.

It should be considered in the context of the employee's duties and the necessity for the employee to have the equipment or services provided in order to carry out the duties of the employment.

So there you have it. Using your CrackBerry might still lose you friends, but it won't cost you any more tax. ®

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