Taxability of Board and Lodging benefits and allowances given to Employees

Board and lodging

You may give your employee board and lodging which means that you provide them with accommodations and, in some cases, food. If you provide only meals to an employee, see Meals.

If you provide free lodging, or free board and lodging, to an employee, the employee receives a taxable benefit. As a result, you have to add to the employee’s salary the fair market value of the board and lodging you provide. Report this amount in box 14, “Employment income,” and in the “Other information” area under code 30 at the bottom of the employee’s T4 slip.

If you provide subsidized lodging, or subsidized board and lodging, to an employee, the employee receives a taxable benefit. As a result, you have to add to the employee’s salary the fair market value of the board and lodging you provide, minus any amount the employee paid. Report this amount in box 14, “Employment income,” and in the “Other information” area under code 30 at the bottom of the employee’s T4 slip.

Exceptions to the rules

There are certain situations that can affect the value of the taxable benefit your employee gets if you provide free or subsidized board and lodging. The exceptions are as follows:

Board and lodging allowances paid to players on sports teams or members of recreation programs

You can exclude up to $377 (for 2021) per month from income for a board and lodging allowance for a participant or member of a sports team or recreational program if all of the following conditions are met:

  • you are a registered charity or a non-profit organization
  • participation with, or membership on the team or in the program is restricted to persons under 21 years of age
  • the allowance is for board and lodging for participants or members that have to live away from their ordinary place of residence
  • the allowance is not attributable to any services, such as coaching, refereeing, or other services to the team or program

Do not report the excluded income on a T4 slip.

Board, lodging, and transportation – Special work sites and remote work locations

It is possible for an employee to work at a location that is both a special work site and a remote work location. However, the benefit can only be excluded from the employee’s income once.

Note

If the special work site is in a prescribed zone, see Board, lodging, and transportation at a special work site in a prescribed zone.

Special work sites

Generally, a special work site is an area where temporary duties are performed by an employee who keeps a self-contained domestic establishment at another location as their principal place of residence. Because of the distance between the two areas, the employee is not expected to return daily from the work site to their principal place of residence.

Note

A self-contained domestic establishment (SCDE) is a house, an apartment, or other similar place of residence where a person usually sleeps and eats. It is generally a living unit with restricted access that contains a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping facilities. The SCDE must be separate from any other living unit in the same building. A room in a hotel, dormitory, boarding house, or bunkhouse is not ordinarily considered to be a SCDE.

Usually, the GST/HST and PST applies on meals and accommodations you provide to an employee. In certain cases, such as long-term residential accommodation of one month or more, no GST/HST and PST applies. Where the GST/HST and PST does apply, include it in the value of the benefit.

Board and lodging at a special work site

You can exclude from income the value of board and lodging, or an allowance (not in excess of a reasonable amount) for board and lodging, that you provide to an employee who works at a special work site if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The employee’s duties required them to be away from their principal place of residence or to be at the special work site
  • The employee had to work at a special work site where the duties performed were of a temporary nature
  • The employee kept, at another location, a self-contained domestic establishment as their principal place of residence:
    • that, throughout the period, was available for the employee’s occupancy, and the employee did not rent it to any other person
    • to which, because of distance, the employee could not reasonably be expected to return daily from the special work site
  • The board and lodging, or the allowance (not in excess of a reasonable amount) for board and lodging, you provided to the employee had to have been for a period of at least 36 hours. This period can include time spent traveling between the employee’s principal place of residence and a special work site
Note

You can only exclude from income an allowance (not in excess of a reasonable amount) paid to your employee for board and lodging if they incurred the expense.

Transportation

You can exclude from income the value of free or subsidized transportation, or an allowance (not in excess of a reasonable amount) for transportation expenses, that you provide to an employee who works at a special work site if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the free or subsidized transportation, or the allowance, was for transportation between the special work site and your employee’s principal place of residence
  • the employee’s duties required them to be away from their principal place of residence or be at the special work site for a period of at least 36 hours
  • you (or a third party) provided board and lodging, or a reasonable allowance for board and lodging, to your employee for that period
Form TD4, Declaration of Exemption – Employment at a Special Work Site

If all of the conditions listed under Board and lodging noted above are met, you and the employee should fill out Form TD4, Declaration of Exemption – Employment at a Special Work Site. This allows you to exclude the benefit or allowance from the employee’s income. If you fill out Form TD4, do not include the amounts in box 14, “Employment income,” or in the “Other information” area under code 30 at the bottom of the employee’s T4 slip. After you fill out Form TD4 with the employee, keep it with your payroll records.

If all of the above-noted conditions are not met, do not fill out Form TD4. Treat the total amounts as part of the employee’s income. Make the necessary deductions and report the amounts on the employee’s T4 slip. This also applies to any part of an allowance for board, lodging, and transportation that is more than a reasonable amount.

Remote work locations

We usually consider a work location to be remote when it is 80 kilometers or more from the nearest established community with a population of at least 1,000 people.

A location is considered an established community if it has essential services or those services are available within a reasonable commuting distance. Essential services may include access to:

  • basic food store
  • basic clothing store, with merchandise in stock (not a mail-order outlet)
  • accommodation
  • certain medical services
  • certain educational facilities
Board and lodging at a remote work location

You can exclude from income the value of board and lodging, or an allowance (not in excess of a reasonable amount) for board and lodging that you provide to an employee who works at a remote work location if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the employee could not reasonably be expected to set up and maintain a self-contained domestic establishment because of the remoteness of the location and the distance from any established community
  • you did not provide a self-contained domestic establishment for the employee
  • the board and lodging, or allowances (not in excess of a reasonable amount) for board and lodging, were for a period of at least 36 hours when one of the following situations applied:
    • the employee had to be away from their principal place of residence because of their duties
    • the employee had to be at the remote work location
Transportation

You can exclude from income the value of free or subsidized transportation, or an allowance (not in excess of a reasonable amount) for transportation expenses, that you provide to an employee who works at a remote work location if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The employee’s duties required them to be away from their principal place of residence or to be at the remote work location for a period of at least 36 hours
  • The free or subsidized transportation, or the allowance, was for transportation between the remote work location and any location in Canada. If the remote work location is outside Canada, you can exclude the allowance for transportation between that location and any location in Canada or outside Canada
  • You (or a third party) provided board and lodging, or a reasonable allowance for board and lodging, to your employee for that period

If you need help determining whether a location qualifies as remote, see Interpretation Bulletin IT-91R, Employment at Special Work Sites or Remote Work Locations.

Form TD4, Declaration of Exemption – Employment at a Special Work Site

When there is an exemption for board, lodging, or transportation allowances you pay to employees who work at a remote work location, do not fill out Form TD4.

Payroll deductions

If you exclude a benefit for board, lodging, and transportation at a special work site or remote work location, it is not a taxable benefit. Do not deduct CPP contributions, EI premiums, or income tax.

Housing or utilities – benefit

If you provide an employee, including the superintendent of an apartment block, with a house, apartment, or similar accommodation rent free or for less than the fair market value (FMV) of such accommodation, there is a taxable benefit for the employee.

You have to estimate a reasonable amount for the housing benefit. It is usually the FMV for the same type of accommodation, minus any rent the employee paid.

In addition, the amount you pay on behalf of, or reimburse to your employee for utilities (such as telephone, hydro, natural gas, water, cable or internet) is also a taxable benefit. This is the amount that you include in the employee’s income as a utilities benefit.

If the employee occupies the accommodation for at least one month, the value of the accommodation is usually not subject to the GST/HST.

Special circumstances that reduce the value of a housing benefit

The following two factors may reduce the value of a housing benefit you provide to your employee:

  • Suitability of size
    Your employee may have to occupy an accommodation that is larger than they need (such as a single person in a three-bedroom house). To calculate the taxable housing benefit, you can reduce the value of the accommodation to equal the value of accommodation that is appropriate to your employee’s needs (in this case, a one- or two-bedroom apartment or house).
Note

If the accommodation you provide is smaller than your employee needs, we cannot allow any reduction in value.

  • Loss of privacy and quiet enjoyment
    If the accommodation you provide to your employee contains things like equipment, public access, or storage facilities that infringe on your employee’s privacy or quiet enjoyment of the accommodation, you can reduce the value of the housing benefit. The reduction has to reasonably relate to the degree of disturbance that affects your employee.

These two factors apply in the above order. If both circumstances apply to an accommodation, you should first reduce the value to equal the value of accommodation that suits your employee’s needs. Then, you should apply any reduction for loss of privacy and quiet enjoyment to that reduced value.

Housing or utilities – allowance

If you give your employee an allowance to pay for rent or utilities, include the allowance in your employee’s income as a taxable housing and/or utilities benefit.

Reporting the benefit

Report the taxable benefit for the utilities in box 14, “Employment income,” and in the “Other information” area under code 40 at the bottom of the employee’s T4 slip. Report the taxable benefit for housing in box 14 and in the “Other information” area under code 30.

Paying RRSPs to your Employees – What you Need to Know

Contributions you make to your employee’s RRSP and RRSP administration fees that you pay for your employee are considered to be a taxable benefit for the employee. However, this does not include an amount you withheld from the employee’s remuneration and contributed for the employee.

If the GST/HST applies to the administration fees, include it in the value of the benefit.

Payroll deductions

Contributions you make to your employee’s RRSPs are generally paid in cash and are pensionable and insurable. Deduct CPP contributions and EI premiums.

However, your contributions are considered non-cash benefits and are not insurable if your employees cannot withdraw the amounts from a group RRSP (except for withdrawals under the Home Buyers’ Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan) before the employees retire or cease to be employed.

Although the benefit is taxable and has to be reported on the T4 slip, you do not have to deduct income tax at source on the contributions you make to your employee’s RRSPs if you have reasonable grounds to believe that the employee can deduct the contribution for the year.

Administration fees that you pay directly for an employee are considered taxable and pensionable. Deduct CPP contributions and income tax. These are considered a non-cash benefit, so they are not insurable. Do not deduct EI premiums.

Taxabilty of Insurance Premiums

The answer to this question is it depends.

These types of insurance follow similar taxing rules:

  • group life insurance, 
  • dependant life insurance, 
  • accidental death insurance and 
  • critical illness insurance.

Any premiums the employer pays for employees’ insurance types noted above less the portion the employee pays (either directly or through reimbursements) are taxable benefits. 

Here is the link if you wanted additional information: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/payroll/benefits-allowances/group-term-life-insurance-policies-employer-paid-premiums.html

For short/long-term disability premiums, if the employer pays for the premiums, they are not taxable a benefit.  If the employee later gets payouts from this insurance, then it would be taxable (on the T4) normally issued by the insurance company. Conversely, if all employees pay their own short/long-term disability premiums, any benefits they may later receive are tax-free.

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In summary, Seniuk and Company is a reliable, cost-effective, and expert accounting firm that is dedicated to helping businesses succeed. If you’re looking for top-quality accounting services, look no further than Seniuk and Company.

Taxability of Gifts, Awards, and Long-service Awards given to Employees

A gift or an award that you give an employee is a taxable benefit from employment, whether it is cash, near-cash, or non-cash. However, we have an administrative policy that exempts non-cash gifts and awards in some cases.

Cash and near-cash gifts or awards are always a taxable benefit for the employee. A near-cash item is one that functions as cash, such as a gift certificate or gift card, or an item that can be easily converted to cash, such as gold nuggets, securities, or stocks. For more information, see Rules for gifts and awards and Policy for non-cash gifts and awards.

 Example of a near-cash gift or an award

You give your employee a $100 gift card or gift certificate to a department store. The employee can use this to purchase whatever merchandise or service the store offers. We consider the gift card or gift certificate to be an additional remuneration that is a taxable benefit for the employee because it functions in the same way as cash.

Examples of non-cash gifts or awards

You give your employee tickets to an event on a specific date and time. This may not be a taxable benefit for the employee since there is no element of choice, if the other rules for gifts and awards are met.

You give your employee a voucher (which may be a ticket or a certificate) that entitles the employee to receive an item for a set value at a store. For example, you may give your employees a voucher for a turkey valued up to $30 as a Christmas gift, and for convenience, you arrange for your employees to go to a particular grocery store and exchange the voucher for a turkey. The employees can only use the voucher to receive a turkey valued up to $30 (no substitutes).

Vouchers and event tickets are generally considered non-cash gifts and awards.

A gift card or gift certificate to a movie theatre is not considered an event ticket. It is considered a near-cash gift or an award. With a gift card or gift certificate to a movie theatre, your employee can choose which movie to see and when to see it, or they can use the card or certificate at an arcade or concession stand.

Rules for gifts and awards

gift has to be for a special occasion such as a religious holiday, a birthday, a wedding, or the birth of a child.

An award has to be for an employment-related accomplishment such as outstanding service, or employees’ suggestions. It is recognition of an employee’s overall contribution to the workplace, not recognition of job performance. Generally, a valid, non-taxable award has clearly defined criteria, a nomination and evaluation process, and a limited number of recipients.

An award given to your employees for performance-related reasons (such as performing well in the job they were hired to do, exceeding production standards, completing a project ahead of schedule or under budget, putting in extra time to finish a project, covering for a sick manager/colleague) is considered a reward and is a taxable benefit for the employee.

If you give your employee a non-cash gift or an award for any other reason, this policy does not apply and you have to include the fair market value of the gift or award in the employee’s income.

The gifts and awards policy does not apply to cash and near cash items or to gifts or awards given to non-arm’s length employees, such as your relatives, shareholders, or people related to them.

For more information on gifts and awards outside our policy, go to Gifts and awards outside our policy.

Value

Use the fair market value (FMV) of each gift to calculate the total value of gifts and awards given in the year, not its cost to you. You have to include the value of the GST in the FMV.

Policy for non-cash gifts and awards

You may give an employee an unlimited number of non-cash gifts and awards with a combined total value of $500 or less annually. If the FMV of the gifts and awards you give your employee is greater than $500, the amount over $500 must be included in the employee’s income. For example, if you give gifts and awards with a total value of $650, there is a taxable benefit of $150 ($650 – $500).

Items of small or trivial value do not have to be included when calculating the total value of gifts and awards given in the year for the purpose of the exemption. Examples of items of small or trivial value include:

  • coffee or tea
  • T-shirts with employer’s logos
  • mugs
  • plaques or trophies

Long-service awards

As well as the gifts and awards in the policy stated above, you can, once every five years, give your employee a non-cash long-service or anniversary award valued at $500 or less, tax-free. The award must be for a minimum of five years’ service, and it has to be at least five years since you gave the employee the last long-service or anniversary award. Any amount over $500 is a taxable benefit.

If it has not been at least five years since the employee’s last long-service or anniversary award, then the award is a taxable benefit. For example, if the 15 year award was given at 17 years of service, and then the next award is given at 20 years of service, the 20 year award will be a taxable benefit, since five years will not have passed since the previous award.

The $500 exemption for long-service awards does not affect the $500 exemption for other gifts and awards in the year you give them. For example, you can give an employee a non-cash long-service award worth $500 in the same year you give them other non-cash gifts and awards worth $500. In this case, there is no taxable benefit for the employee.

Note

If the value of the long-service award is less than $500, you cannot add the shortfall to the annual $500 exemption for non-cash gifts and awards.

You can answer a series of questions on our Web site to help you determine if there is a taxable benefit. For more information, go to Rules for gifts and awards.

Awards from a manufacturer

If a manufacturer of goods gives cash awards or non-cash awards to the dealer of the goods, the manufacturer does not have to report the awards on an information slip.

However, if the dealer passes on cash awards to an employee, the dealer has to report the cash payment in box 14, “Employment income,” and in the “Other information” area under code 40 at the bottom of the employee’s T4 slip. If the dealer passes on non-cash awards to an employee, the dealer may not have to report the awards in the employee’s income if the other conditions of the awards policy are met.

If a manufacturer gives a cash award or a non-cash award directly to the employee of a dealer or other sales organization, the manufacturer has to report the value of the award as a benefit using code 154, “Cash award or prize from payer,” in the “Other information” area at the bottom of the T4A slip.

Taxability of Cell Phone and Internet Services Given to Employees

If you provide your employee with a cell phone (or another handheld communication device) that you own, to help carry out their employment duties, the fair market value (FMV) of the cell phone or device is not a taxable benefit.

However, if you reimburse your employee for the cost of their own cell phone (or another handheld communication device), the FMV of the cell phone or device is considered a taxable benefit to the employee. This is the case even if the employee used, lost, or damaged the cell phone or device while carrying out their employment duties.

If you pay for, or reimburse the cost of an employee’s cell phone service plan, or Internet service at home to help carry out their employment duties, the portion used for employment purposes is not a taxable benefit.

If part of the use of the cell phone or Internet service is personal, you have to include the value of the personal use in your employee’s income as a taxable benefit. The value of the benefit is based on the FMV of the service, minus any amounts your employee reimburses you. You can only use your cost to calculate the value of the benefit if it reflects the FMV.

For cellular phone service only, we do not consider your employee’s personal use of the cellular phone service to be a taxable benefit if all of the following apply:

  • the plan’s cost is reasonable
  • the plan is a basic plan with a fixed cost
  • your employee’s personal use of the service does not result in charges that are more than the basic plan cost

You, as the employer, are responsible for determining the percentage of employment use and the FMV. You have to be prepared to justify your position if we ask you to do so.

Note

If you give your employee an allowance for cellular phone or Internet services, the allowance must be included in the employee’s income.

Taxability of Child Care Expenses for Employees

Child care is not taxable only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the services are provided at your place of business
  • the services are managed directly by you
  • the services are provided to all of the employees at minimal or no cost
  • the services are not available to the general public, only to employees

If not all of the conditions are met, the taxable benefit is the fair market value (FMV) minus any amount that the employee pays for the service.

When you subsidize a facility operated by a third party in exchange for subsidized rates for your employees, the amount of the subsidy is considered a taxable benefit for the employee.

Confirm a representative using My Account or My Business Account

There’s a new way to confirm authorized representatives using My Account or My Business Account. Whether you’re an individual or a business, this easy, two-step digital process will help you protect your tax information and make authorizing new representatives more efficient and secure.

Who is a representative?

Representatives are individuals you authorize to help you or your business manage your tax information. Your representative could be an accountant or lawyer, or a family member or friend. An authorized representative may be able to view, get information about and update some or all of your tax information.

It’s important to know who your representatives are and what information they have access to. Be proactive and make sure the representatives you have on file with the CRA are current. You can remove representatives that are not current by using My Account or My Business Account.

How to confirm a new representative using My Account or My Business Account

Follow these steps to confirm a new authorized representative or to accept changes to the authorization level of an existing representative using the new “Confirm my Representative” service.

  1. The first step is to make sure you have either My Account or My Business Account. If you haven’t used these services before, you will need to register for an account. You can check out the videos below for step-by-step instructions on how to register.

Keep in mind that registration may take several days. If you are planning to authorize a new representative, make sure to register for My Account or My Business Account in advance.

  1. Once registered, we recommend you enable email notifications to make sure you are notified when you receive a new authorization request. Email notifications let you know when you have mail to view in your account, and when important changes have been made to your account. Find out more about how to enable email notifications as an individual or a business.
  2. The next step involves your representative. They will need to sign in to Represent a Client to submit a new authorization request. When submitting this request, they will need to include a certification page signed by you or your delegated authority to complete the request.
  3. Once they have submitted a request, and if you have enabled email notifications, you will be notified by email that someone has requested access to your account. You must then sign in to My Account or My Business Account, where you can review your pending authorization request in the Authorized Representatives section of your account. You can then confirm or deny the request with the click of a button.
  4. You must confirm or deny the authorization request within ten business days, or the request will be cancelled and your representative will need to submit a new one.

Other options for individuals

If you are an individual, not a business, you can choose to authorize a representative without signing in to My Account and using the “Confirm my Representative” service. Instead, you will need to provide your representative with information from a notice of assessment that was issued to you at least six months earlier. When your representative submits their authorization request, they will need to provide this information. If you choose this option, you may be contacted by the CRA by phone to verify the request.

Other options for businesses

Delegated authorities (level 3 representatives) are also able to confirm or deny authorization requests in My Business Account on behalf of business owners.

If you are the owner or director of a business who is too busy or does not deal with routine tax matters, another officer of the company (tax officer, financial officer) can be designated as a delegated authority by the owner/director.

To do this, the business owner/director will still need to sign into My Business Account at least once in order to authorize the delegated authority. This delegate will have almost the same level of access as the owner/director to view and make changes to information in My Business Account, including confirming or denying new authorization requests for other representatives.

Government of Canada affordability incentives for Canadians – September 2022 update

Doubling the GST Credit – the government is proposing to double the GST Credit for six months. Single Canadians without children would receive up to an extra $234 and couples with two children would receive up to an extra $467 this year. Seniors would receive an extra $225 on average. The proposed extra GST Credit amounts would be paid to all current recipients through the existing GST Credit system as a one-time, lump-sum payment before the end of the year, pending Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent of enabling legislation. Recipients would not need to apply for the additional payment, but should file their 2021 tax return if they have not done so already to be able to receive both the current GST credit and the additional payment.

The Canada Dental Benefit would be provided to children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance, starting this year. Direct payments totalling up to $1,300 per child over the next two years (up to $650 per year) would be provided for dental care services. This is for families with adjusted net income under $90,000, and will allow children under 12 to receive the dental care.

The one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit would deliver a $500 payment to renters who are struggling with the cost of housing. The federal benefit will be available to applicants with an adjusted net income below $35,000 for families, or below $20,000 for individuals, who pay at least 30 per cent of their adjusted net income on rent.

Loan forgiveness repayment deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has been extented to December 31, 2023

The repayment deadline for CEBA loans to qualify for partial loan forgiveness is being extended from December 31, 2022, to December 31, 2023, for all eligible borrowers in good standing. Repayment on or before the new deadline of December 31, 2023, will result in loan forgiveness of up to a third of the value of the loans (meaning up to $20,000).

Outstanding loans would subsequently convert to two-year term loans with interest of 5% per annum commencing on January 1, 2024, with the loans fully due by December 31, 2025.