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Tax Tips – Subsidized Meals

Do you have an employee dining room or cafeteria? In a March 21, 2018 Technical Interpretation, CRA stated that they do not consider meals subsidized by the employer to be a taxable benefit provided the employee pays a reasonable charge. This charge should be sufficient to cover the cost of the food, its preparation and service.

Where the charge is less than the cost, the difference would be considered a taxable benefit and should be included on the employee’s T4. It is also important to note that the taxable benefit would be pensionable (CPP remittance required), but not insurable (no EI remittance required).

Action Item:
Due to the tax cost to the employee, in addition to the administrative tracking costs, one should consider having employees pay at least a reasonable amount for meals provided.

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