Feds say employee discounts won’t be taxed after CRA document suggests they will

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government insists that employee discounts will not be taxed despite an updated Canada Revenue Agency document that suggested they will be.

Political rivals and business lobby groups, including the Retail Council of Canada, have voiced strong concerns that new wording in a government document could lead to higher taxes on retail workers, many of whom earn lower wages.

But National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier insists that Ottawa is not targeting retail-sector workers amid worries that changes in the latest version of a CRA document could force some individuals to pay tax on employee discounts.

Lebouthillier’s office says the updated CRA guidance document was only intended to help employers understand their tax-reporting requirements.

However, a source in her office says the decision to change the wording in the document was made by the CRA without the minister’s approval.

The updated CRA guidance document for employers, known as a tax folio, states that when an employee receives a discount on merchandise because of their employment, “the value of the discount is generally included in the employee’s income.”

It also says the value of the benefit is “equal to the fair-market value of the merchandise purchased, less the amount paid by the employee.”

However, the folio notes that no amount will be included in the employee’s income if the discount is also available to the general public or to specific public groups.

“Our government recognizes the important role that the retail sector and those working in it play in our communities and in our economy,” Lebouthillier said in a statement Tuesday.

“There have been no changes to the laws governing taxable benefits to retail employees. We are not targeting individuals working in retail.

“The Agency issued a guidance document to mainly provide assistance for employers and is committed to further clarifying the wording of the guidance to reflect this.”

Just Posted

Skiers in the groove at Apex

Competitors in full swing at Canadian Selections this weekend.

Penticton Subway making it fresh for Soupateria

Subway shops are donating 600 inches of subs, 100 cookies and drinks to Soupateria Dec. 20

What’s shaking at the museum

Kids got to learn about earthquakes Saturday at the museum.

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Vees drop heartbreaker in West Kelowna, host Teddy Bear Toss Saturday

Penticton loses overtime game to West Kelowna Warriors

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Kamloops RCMP warning public to stay away from unfolding domestic dispute

The public is being asked to avoid Sabiston Creek Road off of the highway

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Most Read