In an April 14, 2020 French Technical Interpretation, CRA was asked whether
amounts paid to an employee for costs of equipment for working remotely
would be a taxable benefit.
Generally, a reimbursement for a personal purchase of
equipment used for working remotely would be a taxable
benefit. However, CRA noted that in the context of the
COVID-19 pandemic, which has required many
employees to work remotely, acquisition of computer
equipment may be primarily for the employer’s benefit. In
that context, CRA indicated that no taxable benefit would
arise for a reimbursement, supported by actual invoices
or receipts, of no more than $500 towards such equipment.
CRA also stated that a non-accountable allowance would always be taxable, as
no provision would provide for an exclusion of such amounts.
CRA did not comment on the consequences if the equipment
were used exclusively for employment and was owned by the
employer, not the employee. CRA has indicated in the past
that, where equipment is property of the employer, and any
personal use is incidental, there would be no taxable benefit
to the employee.
ACTION ITEM: Consider providing a reimbursement to
employees for the personal purchase of equipment for
working remotely of up to $500.
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