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Is That A Taxable Turkey?

Is That a Taxable Turkey?

  • Tax

As we approach the holiday season, many companies embrace the spirit of giving by providing extra goodies to their dedicated employees. However, it’s essential to be aware that what appears to be a simple gift can sometimes be viewed as compensation by the IRS.

The IRS, through its publication IRS Publication 15-B, meticulously outlines the types of fringe benefits that are subject to taxation and those that are not. It’s particularly important to note that if you offer cash or cash equivalents, such as holiday bonuses or gift cards, these are almost always considered taxable. However, there’s good news for those who want to spread some holiday cheer without increasing their employees’ tax burdens.

Non-cash holiday gifts, when they have a low fair market value, can be excluded from tax if they qualify as de minimis fringe benefits. In simple terms, this means that if these gifts have such a trivial value that keeping track of them would be impractical, they won’t be subject to taxation; like the holiday turkey. This is excellent news for businesses looking to express their gratitude without adding to their employees’ tax liabilities.

But it’s not just holiday gifts that can be offered without a tax hit. Occasional events like employee parties, tickets to theater or sporting events, and even the sporadic personal use of a company’s copying machine can also be considered excludable fringe benefits. The common thread here is the word “occasional.” The frequency of providing these types of benefits plays a pivotal role in determining whether they are taxable or not.

Should you find that some of your employee benefits are indeed taxable, it’s imperative to report them accurately. Any taxable benefits should be reported on Form W-2 for the year in which they were provided. This means you’ll need to inform your payroll provider about these amounts before the year’s end to ensure compliance.

Navigating the world of taxable benefits and IRS regulations can be complex. If you have any questions or concerns about the tax implications of the perks you provide to your employees, don’t hesitate to reach out to us or consult with your tax adviser. We’re here to help you ensure that your holiday generosity remains a true gift

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