Payroll Management

Providing Fringe Benefits Can Increase Performance

Feb 16, 2015

A fringe benefit is a form of pay for the performance of services. Some fringe benefits are very common but others are becoming less common as some businesses change spending practices. Some companies are well known for their fringe benefits package, such as Google. Google provides their employees laundry facilities, on-site medical staff and their famous in office gym. Other benefits may include employee discounts, wellness programs and access to hotels and resorts.

Should fringe benefits be taxed?

Fringe benefits: someone could write a book on them. They have, actually. What we’re breaking down today, however, will be Non-Taxable Benefits as well as Employer-Provided Benefits. Per the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 132, certain fringe benefits are exempt from being included in your income (of course, certain conditions must be met). Included in these are:

  • No-additional-cost services
  • Qualified employee discounts
  • Working condition benefits
  • Minimal benefits
  • Qualified transportation benefits
  • On-premises athletic facilities
  • Qualified retirement advice services; and
  • Qualified moving expense reimbursements.

To simplify these non-taxable benefits: they have to either apply directly to your work, be an insignificant amount, or applicable to the entirety of your staff. If there is the slightest hesitation, claim it or ask your accountant!

When looking at non-taxable, employer-provided benefits we have to include the following:

  • Awards and Prizes income/exclusion
  • Trips and Vacation benefits
  • Business use of company vehicles
  • Group-term life insurance up to $50,000

Make sure to take a second look at some of your daily/weekly expenses through your work. Is that receipt something that needs to be passed onto your accountant for record keeping? Perhaps you haven’t taken advantage of your company’s life insurance policy for fear of taxation? Make sure you are up-to-date on your company’s benefits, and take advantage of the “free” cost of these non-taxable benefits. You might just find that April 15th may  be your favorite day of the year.

Refer to the IRS website for an additional overview of fringe benefit rules.

Photo Credit: Floyd Manzano