Tag Archives | Google

No more free lunch at Google or Facebook? The IRS is thinking about it . . . .

Employees at Google, Facebook, and other Silicon Valley high-tech companies have long been able to take advantage of free or heavily discounted meals and snacks at company cafeterias. The idea is insidious but simple: don’t give workers excuses to leave the building–or their desks.

Now comes the IRS, possibly preparing to tell the tech world there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, and other folks like Paul Caron picked up on, the IRS is looking at taxing employer-provided meals as one of its top priorities going forward.

That means the Service may be looking at whether those meals should be taxable fringe benefits, instead of the freebies that they currently are.

In general, employer-provided meals are untaxed if they are “for the convenience of the employer.” In this case, the issue may come down to how convenient it actually is for the employer to have employees eating in-house, vs. the convenience that employees get from not having to go out for lunch, or dinner, or anything else.

Does all this mean that the IRS might start going after the folks responsible for developing the latest cool apps and search codes? Probably not. It’d be a lot more efficient for the IRS to go after the employers themselves, charging them with failing to withhold taxes on unreported taxable fringe benefits.

Watch this space for more…or just Google the topic.

Google employees may be worth more dead than alive

I had to post this just so I could write the headline.

Here’s the deal: Google provides life insurance for their employees. But not just the typical $50,000 policy you may have seen at your job, or a death benefit of one year’s pay. Nope. Google’s policy provides the surviving spouse or domestic partner of an employee with a check for 50% of the employee’s salary…every year for ten years.

For a Google employee earning $100,000 annually (not unusual in high-tech Silicon Valley), that translates to a life insurance benefit of a half-million dollars.

This jaw-dropping tidbit was originally written up by Meghan Casserly at Forbes .

No lame jokes today about a company giving you an incentive to work yourself to death. I’ve been happily self-employed virtually my entire career, and this is one of those, “The company gives you what?” moments that makes even people like myself do a quick double-take. Good for Google.

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