In case the IRS hasn’t angered you enough in the last few months, there’s this: The IRS has decided that employers providing meals for employees who work long hours is a situation it plans to “work on actively” in the coming months. For those of us who work in industries or companies where our department heads may buy folks lunch if they’re working on a big project, at the office late, or even for those employees who are regularly provided meals by their employer, this could mean we are forced to add our ‘free lunches’ to our income…and pay taxes on them. Forbes explains:
Companies all over the country often provide meals and other services to keep employees on the premises and happy… The Wall Street Journal raised the issue in 2013 when it suggested that regular meals provided for employees were not intended to be tax free under the Tax Code. Those tax free meals were meant for convenience, the article suggested, and not as a substitute for compensation. Allowing employees unfettered access to gourmet food for free did not seem to fall under any reasonable exception…Despite the spike in press that followed, the Internal Revenue Service remained relatively quiet on the issue. That is, until last week.
Suddenly, now that the IRS has been caught with both hands (and feet!) in the proverbial corruption cookie jar, they suddenly want to start taxing employees who are working long enough hours that their employer feeds them? Is this part of their image restructuring? Perhaps the reinvention of themselves as a ‘kinder, gentler’ IRS? If so, whoever is managing their business direction should commit ritual seppuku.
I have an idea. How about the IRS focus on finding and handling all of those Lerner emails, and the crooks that fill the agency? You can worry about my generous employer later.