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IRS Goes After Employee Lunches.

IRS-Pizza-ROHWith all the pressing things to do on their plate, the IRS has decided to go after the food on employee’s plates – specifically those companies who provide meals for employees.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Staffers at technology companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc., and Twitter Inc.. long have enjoyed free gourmet meals, courtesy of their employers. The groaning buffets, in-house pizza joints, and kitchens stocked with organic produce are an intrinsic part of the culture in much of Silicon Valley, encouraging both collaboration and longer work hours.

The IRS, arguing that these freebies are

a taxable fringe benefit, has given new attention to the issue in recent months during routine audits of some companies, tax lawyers said. When employers haven’t been withholding taxes related to the meals, the IRS increasingly has sought back taxes that can amount to 30% of the meals’ fair-market value, the lawyers said.

What the IRS is really saying is that companies that try and make their workplace better and their employees happier need to pay the government.

Maybe what the companies should do is let the employees pay for the meals and then tell them to talk about their work. After all, business lunches are tax deductible.

Another part of this issue goes back to “one set of rules for people and one set of rules for the government.”

In 2013, the IRS was called onto the Congressional carpet for a 2010 conference held in California. To use the parlance of today, the IRS “made it rain.”

Lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee accused the agency of grossly misusing taxpayer money when it spent at least $4.1 million at the conference on luxury hotel rooms, expensive training videos and outside speakers on topics such as leadership through painting.

A Treasury report released this week condemned the conference and said $3.2 million of the cost was funded by money set aside to hire enforcement employees.

Fink on Thursday said the IRS did not keep full records of the Anaheim, California, conference and warned the overall cost could have been as high as $5 million.

Those luxury suits the conference attendees stayed in? Let’s take 30% of their costs from the IRS employees and put it back into taxes.

We all know that isn’t going to happen.

And food?

[Acting IRS commissioner Danny] Werfel said in a statement that the incident related to food that was inappropriately provided free of charge at a party inside a private suite at the conference. He said that represented a violation of government ethics standards.

Oh.

So it was a violation of ethics standards (as if the IRS is a stranger to “ethical standards”) but notice what is missing: Werfel never mentions that the free food was taxable to the people who received it.

Wonder why that is?

A moment of forgetfulness?

Or another case where the rules don’t apply to those in government?



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