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News Items, by Subject

Fringe benefits - transit, discounts, other

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One Sure-Fire Way to Engage Employees in Voluntary Benefits
"One way is to understand what employees might need given their life stage, family situation or other variables. To help employees sort this out, here are few scenarios of how voluntary benefits could help employees[.]" (Voya)
'Pawternity' Leave Acknowledges Pet Owners' Needs
"Millennials are the primary pet-owning generation, slightly edging out Baby Boomers (35 percent and 32 percent, respectively ... Organizations that don't allow pets in the workplace may still offer pet-supportive benefits -- pet health insurance, pet bereavement leave, time off to take a pet to the vet ... That can translate into engagement and retention." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
Does Your Organization Offer 'Green' Benefits?
"[S]ome examples you could implement: [1] Help employees to have a greener commute.... [2] Help employees have a smaller environmental footprint outside of work.... [3] Have ways for employees to make a positive impact on the environment." (HR Daily Advisor)
A Retirement Perk for Deeply in Debt Millennials
"More than 100 companies put some money toward employees' student loans ... So far, companies have been offering anywhere between $500 and a few thousand dollars a year toward student loan payments. That money is treated as taxable income, a drawback for all parties that may explain why more employers aren't adding the benefit.... Abbott's twist works around the tax penalty, because 401k payments are tax-free." (Bloomberg)
Construction Industry's Ongoing Labor Shortage: Consider Implementing Non-Monetary Benefits
"Studies show that employers that devote just one-to-two percent of their payroll to an employee recognition program can improve retention. While working on a jobsite might not lend itself toward traditional notions of employee recognition, recognition does not have to take place in an office. Contractors can offer meals, snacks, coffee, a new training course, and positive reinforcement as part of an employee recognition program." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
Paying Off Employees' Student Loans Gains Traction Among Employers
"[S]tudent loan repayment programs entail the employer making a monthly or other periodic payment to the holder of the student loan.... [M]any employers offer new hires the right to participate immediately upon starting employment.... Employers who are considering implementing a student loan repayment program should be aware that there are practical issues that will need to be addressed[.]" (Blank Rome LLP)
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
"[M]any companies even offer discounted pet insurance for employees.... A common complaint about pet insurance is that the things that it covers are limiting to the point of the policy being relatively useless when the big dollars are due.... [T]he average monthly cost is about $27 for cats and $43 for dogs." (Financial Finesse)
[Guidance Overview] What Are Creditable Benefits for New York's Wage Parity Act?
"The Act requires a minimum basic wage (cash) of the applicable New York State minimum wage plus additional wages or supplemental wages (i.e., benefits) equal to another $4.09 per hour in NYC or $3.22 per hour in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties ... The goal for agencies is to deliver the WPA package in a way that is tax advantaged.... [which] requires complying not only with the WPA, but also with many other federal and state laws ... [F]or example, if a cell phone plan reimbursement program meets all the standards to be tax qualified under the Internal Revenue Code, it is not a creditable cost towards the WPA Package." (FordHarrison)
What the Employee Benefits Business Can Learn from Retail Industry
"[As] employer health plan design continues to shift costs onto employees, and more retirement plans move from a defined benefit model to a defined contribution model, the 'best-seller' benefits are no longer enough to differentiate employers in the eyes of workers.... [T]he greatest opportunity for employers, in terms of both talent attraction and cost-effectiveness, lies in more non-traditional voluntary benefits that have begun to emerge." (Benefitfocus)
Is Wining and Dining Still Worth It? A Look at Meals and Entertainment Deduction Today
"In the pre-TCJA law, meals provided by an employer at an on premise eating facility were exempt from former Code Sec. 274(n)(1) ... if they were excludable from the employee's income as a de minimis fringe benefit under Code Sec. 132(e)(2).... As a result of the TCJA ... [1] For amounts paid between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2025, these meals are now subject to the 50% disallowance under Code Sec. 274(n)(1). [2] From January 1, 2026 on, no amount paid for employee meals, whether provided either for the convenience of the employer or at an employer-operated eating facility, will be deductible." (WithumSmith+Brown, PC)
No Fringe Benefit Left Behind: Incentivizing Employer-Provided Student Loan Repayments
"In February 2017, a bill was introduced to amend Section 127 to extend the tax exclusion of employer-provided education assistance to include payments of qualified education loans by an employer to either an employee or directly to a lender.... [T]he exclusion under this bill would still be limited to $5,250. In May 2017, a second bill was introduced to extend the tax exclusion to include payments of qualified loans and to increase the maximum amount excludible from $5,250 to $10,000." (Bloomberg BNA)
Get Ready for the Digital Future of Total Rewards
"AI systems ... will be able to: [1] Match an employee's family status, age, career stage, life preferences and aspirations with the organization's total rewards opportunities, to help employers refine their rewards offerings. [2] Consider a worker's age, education, career stage, job, skills, work unit and location to customize rewards communications for content, style, language and delivery medium (text, e-mail, phone, chatbot, mail, handout, brochure or pictures)." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Notice 2018-42: Update of 2018 Standard Mileage Rates Notice (PDF)
"Public Law 115-97 suspends all miscellaneous itemized deductions that are subject to the two-percent of adjusted gross income floor under Section 67, including unreimbursed employee travel expenses. This suspension applies to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. Thus, the business standard mileage rate listed in Notice 2018-03 cannot be used to claim an itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses during the suspension." [Also see the IRS news release at IR-2018-127.] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
IRS Issues Updated Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits
"Updates [to IRS Publication 15-B for use in 2018] include: [1] the suspension of qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements from an employee's income for any tax year after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026; [2] the suspension of the exclusion for qualified moving expense reimbursements from an employee's income for tax years after December 1, 2017 and before January 1, 2026 ... [3] limits on employers' deductions for certain fringe benefits including meals and transportation commuting; and [4] the definition of items that aren't tangible personal property for purposes of employee achievement awards." (United Benefit Advisors)
Tax Court Denies Mileage Deduction and Penalizes Tax Attorney for Inadequate Substantiation
"Even though the regulations under Code Section 274(d) allow vehicle expense deductions to be established by testimony and 'other corroborative evidence,' that form of substantiation will often be found inadequate. This also affects employers that provide company cars, or reimburse employees for business use of employees' personal vehicles, because the income exclusions for those fringe benefits rely on either the working condition fringe rules or the accountable plan rules, both of which incorporate the strict substantiation requirements of Code Section 274(d) when applied to vehicle expenses." [Velez v. Comm'r, T.C. Memo. 2018-46 (Apr. 5, 2018)] (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
Ninth Circuit Determines 'Direct and Sole Cause' Doesn't Mean What It Says under 'Accidental' Injury Plan
"[T]he Ninth Circuit ruled that an accident plan that covers 'accidental injury that is the Direct and Sole Cause of a Covered Loss' really covers many losses that have causes other than the accidental injury. And the court held that an illness does not 'contribute to' a loss unless it is a 'substantial cause' of the loss. In so holding, the Court: relied on some Congressional policies underlying ERISA while ignoring others; and read language into a Plan that was not there." [Dowdy v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 16-15824 (9th Cir. May 16, 2018)] (Robinson & Cole LLP)
Value of Employer-Provided Foreign Tax Return Preparation Not Excludable as Working Condition Fringe Benefit
"While a substantial business benefit to the employer, distinct from the payment of additional compensation, is needed to show that the expense would have been employment-related if the employee had paid and taken a business deduction, that benefit is not enough. The expense must also be of a type that the employee could have deducted under Code Section 162 ... Because Code Section 162 doesn't apply to personal tax preparation, the working condition fringe exclusion is unavailable." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
Simple Steps to Provide Successful Student Loan Repayment Benefits
"Student debt management is a complex and delicate issue that has a significant impact on employees' broad financial wellness -- but providing support can be straightforward from the plan sponsor perspective." (PLANSPONSOR)
Benefits and Beyond: How Employers Think About Financial Wellness (PDF)
"[A] significant majority of employers (83%) offer financial wellness programs, and another 14% plan to offer them in the next one or two years.... Twenty-six percent only offer programs to their full-time employees, 27% also include part-time employees, and 30% also include contractors." (Prudential)
Workplaces Switch Gears With Bike-to-Work Benefit Offerings
"Though biking is not the most popular of all commuter choices, the number of people who bike to work increased by 51% from 2000 to 2016 ... Of those organizations that offer transportation incentives to employees: 44% offer on-site bicycle storage; 39% provide on-site locker rooms and showers; 19% offer bike-to-work subsidies, allowances or reimbursements; 19% offer bike/walk paths around the workplace[.]" (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])
Majority of Large Employers Offer Financial Assistance for Fertility Treatment
"[A]mong 497 U.S. employers with at least 100 employees -- employers that collectively represent 7 million employees and operate in all major industry sectors -- 55 percent offer fertility benefits.... [T]hat number is expected to grow to 66 percent by 2019.... Of the employers currently offering fertility benefits, 65 percent offer coverage for fertility services to same-sex couples. That percentage is expected to increase to 81 percent by 2019." (HR Daily Advisor)
Ingredients for a Successful Voluntary Benefits Strategy
"[1] A heaping helping of data-driven insights. [2] Technology platform with defined data integration standards. [3] Rich set of educational content and decision support." (Benefitfocus)
Are Leave-Sharing Plans a Good Idea?
"[S]tates have their own laws addressing which types of leave can be donated to leaving-sharing programs, so you should begin by examining applicable state law. Such laws typically focus on whether the PTO is 'accrued' or 'vested.'... Federal law doesn't prohibit employers from implementing leave-sharing programs. The predominant issue under federal law involves certain tax consequences." (HR Daily Advisor)
Certain Fringe Benefits Provided by Not-For-Profits Are Taxable Income
"As of January 1, 2018, the following fringe benefits are classified as UBI: [1] Qualified transportation benefits. These include commuter vehicle and van pooling as well as transit passes and vouchers for mass transit, such as buses and trains. [2] Qualified parking facility. This includes parking provided by an employer and parking reimbursements provided under a bona-fide reimbursement arrangement. [3] On-premises athletic facility.... Although organizations will now have to pay UBI taxes for these benefits, the benefits will continue to be tax free for employees -- but subject to monthly limits." (Moss Adams LLP)
IRS Updates Employer Guide For 2018 Tax Changes To Fringe Benefits (PDF)
"IRS Publication 15-B confirms that the loss of the employer deduction for qualified transportation benefits also applies to pre-tax salary deferrals by employees for qualified parking, commuter expenses or transit passes." (Cowden Associates, Inc.)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Clarifies Tax Treatment of Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits
"The IRS has now clarified that an employer cannot deduct qualified transportation fringe benefit amounts, even if the benefit is withheld from an employee's paycheck. The withholding would still be pre-tax for the employee.... The good news is that it appears these benefits are still excluded from FICA and FUTA ... [S]ome cities ... require employers to offer commuting benefits to employees in those cities. In some cases, those ordinances require that the benefit be provided pre-tax." (HUB International)
Voluntary Benefits Now Viewed as Essential Offerings by Employers
"[V]oluntary benefits expected to attract more employer attention over the next few years include: [1] Identity theft protection: 36% of employers currently offer -- could increase to 63% by 2021; [2] Pet insurance: 34% of employers currently offer -- could increase to 57% by 2021; [3] Long-term care insurance: 16% of employers currently offer -- could double to 33% by 2021; [4] Critical-illness insurance: 43% of employers currently offer -- could increase to 71% by 2021; [5] Hospital indemnity: 24% of employers currently offer -- could more than double to 50% by 2021." (Willis Towers Watson)
[Guidance Overview] Transportation Benefits are More Expensive in 2018
"[E]mployers will no longer be able to take deductions on qualified transportation fringe benefits provided to employees. This includes deductions for the costs associated with paying for employee qualified parking, transit passes, qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements, and transportation in commuter highway vehicles.... Any funds paid or incurred by a tax exempt employer for any qualified transportation benefit, any parking facility used in connection with qualified parking, or any on-premises athletic facility will be treated as unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) under the new law." (Graydon)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Interprets Tax Reform Deduction Rule for Transportation Benefits Paid by Employee Salary Reductions
"IRS guidance has clarified that employee salary reduction contributions to pay for transportation expenses are not deductible.... [S]everal larger cities and metropolitan areas, like New York City, San Francisco and the District of Columbia, have laws requiring employers to sponsor plans allowing employees to make pretax salary reductions to pay for transportation expenses." (Lockton)
[Guidance Overview] Fringe Benefits Affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
"[E]mployers may continue to deduct amounts for employer-provided moving expenses as an ordinary and necessary business expense if the employer includes the amounts in the employee's taxable wages.... Absent the ability to deduct the costs associated with [qualified transportation fringe benefits under IRC section 132(f)], employers are assessing the viability of such fringe benefits and pondering tax-advantageous alternatives ... . However, certain employers in certain jurisdictions (e.g., New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) are required by local law to offer employees a pre-tax deferral or employer subsidy to offset commuting expenses." (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] Tax Reform's Impact on Fringe Benefits; More COLA Adjustments
"IRS Publication 15-B for 2018 clarifies that no deduction is permitted to an employer for [expenses incurred for providing] any transportation, or for any payment or reimbursement to employees for commuting expenses, except as necessary for the safety of the employees.... [A]mounts ... which were part of a salary reduction agreement to pay for the transportation expenses are still not deductible by the employer, even if it is not a direct employer payment of the transportation expenses. This only impacts the employer's deduction, it does not change the fringe benefit exclusion that precludes the amounts from being treated as taxable W-2 wages for employees." (Winstead PC)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS CCM 201810007: Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Tax Preparation Services as Part of Employer's International Tax Equalization Program (PDF)
"The tax preparation services provided by Taxpayer for the benefit of its employees working in foreign countries are includable in the employees' gross income. [2] The amount includable in the employees' gross income is the fair market value of the tax preparation services. [3] The fair market value of the tax preparation services constitutes wages for FICA tax purposes. [4] The fair market value of the tax preparation services constitutes wages for purposes of FITW, unless Taxpayer had a reasonable belief that such value would be excludable from the employees' gross income under Section 911 or Taxpayer was required by the law of a foreign country to withhold income taxes on such value." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Open Enrollment Data Insight: Key Themes for Benefit Professionals
"Not every employee is going to need an accident, critical illness or hospital indemnity plan, but for the ones that do, these benefits can be a game-changer -- and at little or no cost to the employer.... [W]ith the ability to capture employee demographic information and use it to segment audiences for benefits communication, employers can deliver messages that will resonate with workers on a personal level.... [L]eading employers and their advisors are turning to enterprise-grade benefits management technology -- to continue to evolve their benefit programs with a single partner[.]" (Benefitfocus)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Publication 15-B: Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, for Use in 2018 (PDF)
33 pages. "What's New: [1] New tax legislation ... [2] Qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements.... [3] Cents-per-mile rule ... [4] Qualified parking exclusion and commuter transportation benefit ... [5] Contribution limit on a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA)." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] The Problem with Parking (and Other Fringe Benefits) Under Tax Reform (PDF)
"Employers do have some choices ... [1] Stop paying for employee parking [or] start charging employees for parking or mass transit [or] treat amounts paid for parking /mass transit as wages and report on Form W-2.... [2] Establish a 'qualified transportation plan' [which] allows employees to pay for their own parking on a pre-tax basis through a salary reduction election.... [3] Employers who currently pay for parking may be able to renegotiate their lease and as a part of that renegotiation get 'free parking.' (Boutwell Fay LLP)
Plan Design Considerations & Innovations: Are Benefits a Popularity Contest?
"The survey asked participants to rate 30 plan management strategies based on market acceptance and effectiveness.... Responding employers generally considered highly accepted strategies as highly effective, and there was a strong correlation between almost all acceptance levels and the corresponding effectiveness levels. The notable exception was voluntary products, which were viewed as significantly less effective than accepted. Private exchanges stood out as the least effective and least accepted strategy." (Chelko Center for Benefits Management)
Using Tax Reform to Boost Voluntary Benefits Offerings
"[N]early a third of employers said they plan to redirect some portion of their tax savings to employee rewards. One meaningful way to use tax savings to help employees is by purchasing coverage that protects them from financial risks.... Employers can help protect their employees and provide services for recovery by [1] purchasing identify theft coverage for their employees and offering an optional buy-up for family members ... [2] providing a base level of supplemental health coverage." (Mercer)
Student Loan Debt Repayment Assistance
"Student loan debt repayment assistance is linked to greater recruitment and retention efforts and overall career happiness. It's a huge topic for millennials and one of the leading financial wellness opportunities for attracting and retaining top talent; 72% of employees say the ability to customize benefits increases loyalty to their employer." (Corporate Synergies)
[Guidance Overview] New Tax Law Limits Employer's Deduction for Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit Expenses
"[A]ny employer contribution to [a plan under Code section 132(f)] reduces the amount an employee can elect as a pre-tax amount for his or her commuting and parking benefits.... Employers may still take the deduction for these expenses if the employer treats the payments as taxable compensation to the employees.... [B]etween Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2025 employer reimbursements for bicycle commuting expenses are taxable wages for the employee. The sunset provision does not apply to the other qualified transportation fringe benefits." (Ice Miller LLP)
Hold the Phone! Reimbursing Employees for Cell Phone Use in California
"[E]mployers must reimburse California employees for cell phone use when employees are required to use their personal cell phones for business purposes. Reimbursement is required even if the employee does not actually incur extra expenses as a result of his or her use. However, what is not well understood is how much must be reimbursed." (LaborSphere, a blog by Drinker Biddle)
[Guidance Overview] Providing Certain Fringe Benefits Now Results in UBIT for Tax-Exempt Organizations
"[Tax-exempt] employers will need to determine the increased cost of the fringe benefits created by the UBIT treatment and evaluate whether these benefits can be restructured with a more favorable design. For example, ... employees can have the amount necessary to pay for [qualified transportation] benefits deducted from their pay on a pre-tax basis. If an employer increased employee compensation in the amount of the fringe benefit, employees could still receive the same benefit and the same cost through payroll deduction. That revised benefit structure would avoid UBIT treatment[.]" (Trucker Huss)
Will Employee Perks Survive the Tax Law?
"By effectively making those benefits more expensive, the 2017 tax act's adjustments may drive employers to allocate a larger portion of funds set aside for employee-related expenses to other benefits, such as health care, retirement, or student loan help, as a way to make their perks more tax-efficient[.]" (Bloomberg BNA)
Do Your Commuter Benefits Cut the Mustard?
"What feedback can you utilize to improve your program? Think about evaluating employee needs and satisfaction with their current and past transportation offerings.... Send out a survey to find out if employees prefer a debit card or pass fulfillment.... Take your employees' temperature on past commuter benefit changes." (Frenkel Benefits)
[Guidance Overview] Transportation and Parking Benefits Provided by Tax-Exempt Employers Might Be Taxable
"There is significant confusion and lack of clarity regarding how these provisions will be interpreted or applied. For example, will an organization have UBTI if it permits employee parking in spaces owned by the employer, or only if the parking is in spaces for which the employer must pay a third party? Will an organization have UBTI if it sponsors a pre-tax employee parking or transit program, or only if it provides those benefits at no cost to the employees?" (Quarles & Brady LLP)
Introduce Voluntary Benefits Outside of Open Enrollment
"[Introducing] new voluntary benefits off-cycle ... allows employees to focus on the new products without being distracted by changes to the medical plan or the increased premiums for core products.... [O]nce an employee makes their open enrollment elections and have experienced a few months' worth of payroll-deducted premiums, they're better equipped to decide their tolerance for additional premium deductions towards shiny new voluntary benefits." (Frenkel Benefits)
Still Standing After the New Tax Law: Employee Commuter Tax Benefits
"Section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code allows employers to offer employees the opportunity pay for certain transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis.... Unlike Section 125 Plans, a Commuter Benefit Plan does not include a 'use it or lose it penalty'. A Plan document is not required, but a written description is recommended. Form 5500 is not required." (The Retirement Plan Blog)
No (Tax-) Free Lunch: Entertainment, Awards, and Meals Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
"The Act did not change the exceptions to the general disallowance of deductions for expenses for entertainment, amusement, or recreation found under Code Section 274(e). These include, for example, food and beverages for employees on the employer's business premises, expenses that are imputed as income to employees, and employee and director business meetings.... [A]ny entertainment expenses that are still permitted due to pre-existing exceptions not changed by the Act -- such as employee business meals -- are now 100% deductible." (Ice Miller LLP)
Why Employers Should Offer Health Insurance and Other Employee Benefits
"Nearly a quarter (23%) of full-time employees do not receive any benefits from their employers. Over half (55%) of employees say that health insurance is the most important benefit in terms of their job satisfaction. Childcare benefits are rare, with only 21% of full-time workers receiving paid parental leave. Just 8% receive some kind of childcare stipend." (Clutch)
Estee Lauder Launches Student Loan Contribution Benefit
"The New York City-based conglomerate ... partnered with student loan payback platform to administer a monthly $100 contribution to an employee's student loans. The contribution caps at $10,000." (Employee Benefit News)
Nearly One in Five Workers Had Access to Financial Planning Benefits in 2017
"In 2017, about one-fifth of private industry workers were offered free or subsidized financial planning services from their employers. These services help employees make decisions about savings, borrowing, investing, home buying, education expenses, or retirement. While union and nonunion workers had similar rates of access to financial planning services, access varied based on size of establishment, wage level, and industry." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS])
Self-Funding of Ancillary Benefits Helps Control Plan Cost
"The most commonly self-funded ancillary benefits are dental and short-term disability, followed by vision. These employee benefits are relatively low risk.... Short-term disability is a popular benefit for employees needing maternity leave. However, if you plan accordingly, these claims won't drastically affect the benefit spend." (Corporate Synergies)
Tax Reform Changes for Health, Paid Leave and Fringe Benefits
"Many of the changes made by the tax reform law to health, paid leave and fringe benefits will need implementing guidance to fill in the details before employers can make informed decisions about their programs. Employers will generally need to assess the worth of these benefits to employees as well as the cost of the lost deductions." (Willis Towers Watson)
[Guidance Overview] Transportation Fringe Benefits after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
"If the tax-exempt organization wants to avoid the [application of the Unrelated Business Income Tax rules to certain fringe benefits provided to employees], either [1] it can provide the benefits as taxable items to the employees (and include the cost of the benefits in the employees' Forms W-2) or [2] it can stop providing these benefits. If the organization chooses to treat these benefits as taxable wages, it will be subject to higher FICA and Medicare payroll taxes and the employees will have increased personal income taxes." (Schneider Downs)
[Guidance Overview] How Tax Reform Will Change the Treatment of Fringe Benefits
"Several employer deductions will be reduced or eliminated, including the cost of business-related entertainment expenses and qualified transportation fringe benefits, but employers may be able to claim a credit for a percentage of wages paid to qualifying employees on family and medical leave.... [E]mployees can no longer exclude moving expense reimbursements they receive from employers or deduct moving expenses they pay themselves." (Morgan Lewis)
[Guidance Overview] Fringe Benefits: What Tax Reform Means to the Employer
"If a tax-exempt entity provides an opportunity for employees to pay transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis, the entity may inadvertently trigger [unrelated business taxable income (UBTI)], which could be a significant issue. Further complicating this issue are the local laws in New York City, Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Bay area that require certain employers to maintain qualified transportation fringe benefit programs under Code Section 132(f). Therefore, it will not be easy for certain employers to simply discontinue transportation fringe programs in order to avoid UBTI." (McDermott Will & Emery)
Where Is an Employee's 'Home' for Travel Expense Reimbursement Purposes?
"An employee's 'tax home' is generally determined by where the employee works, not by where the employee lives. An employee's tax home is not limited to a particular building or property but rather includes the entire city or area in which the tax home is located.... Assignments of indefinite duration can change a taxpayer's tax home, but temporary assignments will not if the assignment is realistically expected to last, and in fact lasts, for one year or less[.]" (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
Tax Law Sends Mixed Messages on Transportation Benefits
"Beginning in 2018, the law repeals employer deductions for parking and transit benefits ... Employees are still able to exclude employer-provided parking and transit benefits from their income and use salary reductions to purchase such benefits on a pre-tax basis. The law makes the opposite changes to bicycle commuting reimbursements." (Bloomberg BNA)
[Guidance Overview] Tax Law Revises Treatment of Employee Benefits
"[The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act] did eliminate the tax-advantaged status of a number of fringe benefits.... The effective date of these changes leaves little time to revise payroll systems to address these matters. [A table provides] a high-level overview of the benefits that may be affected." (RSM US)
Employee Benefits Resolutions for 2018
"January is a great time ... to tidy up your employee benefit plan documents! ... Re-evaluation of your benefits advisers (third party administrators, investment advisers, auditors and even us attorneys) is not only good common sense, it's required under ERISA.... [C]arefully review cybersecurity protections offered (or perhaps not offered) by service providers.... Review electronic distribution of benefit plans.... [W]hy not try out some new benefits?" (Mintz Levin)
[Guidance Overview] The Impact of Tax Reform on Qualified Plans and Fringe Benefits
"[1] Are there changes to the plan loan rollover rules? ... [2] What favorable tax treatment is available for plan distributions to individuals living in 2016 disaster areas? ... [3] Are there any changes to the plan hardship distribution rules? ... [4] What happened to Rothification? ... [5] Fringe benefits are generally excluded from an employee's income. Are there any changes to these rules? ... [6] Does the Act change the tax treatment or deduction of meals provided to employees for the convenience of the employer?" (Drinker Biddle)
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