For businesses that have employees, there are changes to fringe benefits that can affect a business’s bottom line and their employee’s tax liabilities. One of these changes is to qualified moving expenses.
Under previous law, payment or reimbursement of an employee’s qualified moving expenses were not subject to income or employment taxes, but under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employers must include all moving expenses in employees’ wages, subject to income and employment taxes.
Generally, members of the U.S. Armed Forces can still exclude qualified moving expense reimbursements from their income if:
- They are on active duty.
- They move pursuant to a military order and incident to a permanent change of station.
- The moving expenses would qualify as a deduction if the employee didn’t get a reimbursement.
There is a transition rule under the new law. Under this rule, certain payments or reimbursements aren’t subject to federal income or employment taxes. This includes amounts that:
- An employer pays a third party in 2018 for qualified moving services provided to an employee prior to 2018.
- An employer reimburses an employee in 2018 for qualified moving expenses incurred prior to 2018.
To qualify for the transition rule, the payments or reimbursements must be for qualified expenses which would have been deductible by the employee if the employee had directly paid them before Jan. 1, 2018. The employee must not have deducted them in 2017.
Employers who have included amounts covered by the exception or the transition rule in individuals’ wages or compensation can take steps to correct taxable wages and employment taxes.
- Circular E: Employer’s Tax Guide
- Instructions for Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund
Editor’s note: Check out these articles for more information on tax reform and how it affect your clients.