Question from a client: "If employees are getting something at below market price and we are paying for them to get that privilege, are we creating taxable income for the employee that needs to be reported on their W-2?"



Answer: We are not tax professionals and cannot give tax advice. Please check with your tax department and/or authorities for a qualified opinion. That said, you may wish to present the following information to them.


IRS Rev. Rul. 76-96 holds that the receipt of the rebate by a qualifying retail customer does not result in the receipt of gross income. However, Rev. Rul. 76-96 holds that the rebate represents a reduction in the purchase price of the automobile, requiring a downward adjustment to the basis of the automobiles in the hands of the purchasers under section 1012 of the Code. This revenue ruling relates to manufacturer’s rebates in business transactions, but the rationale may apply to other situations, including purchasing goods with coupons.


In addition, according to Department of the Treasury IRS Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, "You can exclude the value of a de minimis benefit you provide to an employee from the employee's wages. A de minimis benefit is any property or service you provide to an employee that has so little value (taking into account how frequently you provide similar benefits to your employees) that accounting for it would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable."