Oct 10, 2017
By Michael Kramer
The Trudeau government is insisting that employee discounts will not be taxed – despite an updated Canada Revenue Agency document that suggests they will be.
Political rivals and business lobby groups – including the Retail Council of Canada – are saying they are very concerned that new wording in a government document could lead to higher taxes on retail workers – many of whom earn low wages.
But National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier insists that the government isn’t targeting retail-sector workers – despite growing worries that changes in the latest version of a CRA document – could force some people to pay tax – on discounts they receive as employees.
According to Lebouthillier’s office – the updated CRA guidance document was only intended to help employers understand their tax-reporting requirements.
But 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 document in question 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.”