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Offering new perks? Heed tax rules on fringe benefits

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in Centerpiece,Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

With pressure on wages still tight, employers are whipping up new employee perks almost every day. The problem, of course, is that no one consults Payroll before the big rollout to employees.

That’s a mistake, since perks are taxable, unless the tax code says they’re not.

Gas and go. To combat high gas prices (down from earlier this year, but still substantially higher than this time in 2010), some companies are giving employees preloaded gas cards as bonuses and birthday presents. Gas cards have a dollar value, so, like any gift card, they’re fully taxable to recipients. If you don’t want to hand employees a surprise tax bill, the company needs to pay employees’ taxes by grossing up the face value of the gas card.

On the other hand, some employees have access to more fuel-efficient company cars. This perk is a tax-free working condition fringe benefit to em­ployees as long as they use company cars for business and they acco...(register to read more)

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