Top 9 Tax-Free Employee Benefits You Can Offer at Limited Cost
Offering More Benefits to Employees Without the Tax Liability
Smart employees take advantage of pre-tax savings plans, retirement savings, and other ways to stretch their dollars, but they might not be aware of a host of other tax-free benefits because their companies don't currently offer them.
Most companies look for ways to boost their benefits packages without going overboard on costs. Many are hoping to find ways to save money, too. You can add some of these perks to your employee benefits package to provide the maximum value in a total compensation strategy without breaking the bank. Your employees can take advantage of them tax-free, and so can you.
You can deduct the mileage of company vehicles on your annual tax returns if your company offers a fleet for use by employees. Employees pay nothing for this benefit and it’s completely tax-free for them.
The only real issue can be the high tax paid for gasoline to power the vehicles, but this can be offset by using a fuel discount program.
Electronics, mobile devices, and other technology perks are also tax-free for employees. Many enjoy being able to use the latest in software and hardware, particularly those who work offsite. Not only is this a tax-free benefit, but it can be claimed on corporate taxes as depreciated value over one to four years from the date of purchase.
Frequent Flyer Miles and Travel Points
Employees who must travel for business purposes can enjoy a number of tax-free benefits. Frequent flyer mile programs give the company and its employees free airline miles for future trips and discounts. Hotel chains offer rewards programs that let employees rack up points for gift cards and free hotel stays.
Meals and Lodging
Likewise, it's a tax-free employee benefit under IRS rules when employers provide lodging and meals for employee events or as part of their terms of employment. Many employers offer free meals as part of their wellness programs, and this is also tax-free.
Your company can reimburse employees on a monthly basis, completely tax-free, if employees are required to furnish their own cellphones, internet service, or other communication solutions as part of their jobs. The services must be used exclusively for the business and not for personal enjoyment, however.
Dependent Care Support
When employees are forced to care for dependents or aging family members, a portion of their dependent care benefits is tax-free each year. These contributions were limited to $5,000 a year as of 2018.
Corporate Wellness Programs
Leading companies understand the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce, and corporate wellness programs are a popular choice. This isn't just a tax-free benefit—it can reduce health insurance premiums over time.
Non-Cash Rewards and Swagger
Companies that want to maximize their incentive programs but remain tax-free can give out non-cash gift cards and corporate-branded prizes to employees. Examples include gift certificates for local restaurants and sporting events, T-shirts, hats, and koozies. Employees love them and they don’t cost the company much to obtain.
Corporate Learning and Development
A well-educated and trained workforce is a strong and productive workforce. One of the best tax-free benefits a company can offer is a learning and development program for employees to enhance their skills. Tuition reimbursement is also tax-free up to $5,250 a year per employee as of 2019.