IRS Looking to Tax Free Lunches Offered at Tech Firms

employee lunch

Federal tax officials may bring more reality to the old adage “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

According to reports from the California Bay Area and Silicon Valley, the Internal Revenue Service is considering whether to tax free lunches and other perks routinely offered to employees at tech companies.

Silicon Valley Mercury News reported recently that employees at companies like Facebook and Google may have to pay taxes on free meals.  It’s a fringe benefit that their employers use as a selling point to recruit talented employees and keep them working on-site. A free lunch — and more — is seen by these and other companies as something they can offer to improve the workplace environment and morale.  But now the IRS is considering making that less free by taxing the benefit.

There are no details about what the tax would be on the free lunches offered at these workplaces. A report by The Wall Street Journal details debate among tax experts including tax attorneys practicing in the Silicon Valley.  They say the IRS has begun to focus on whether the meals constitute part of a compensation package.

Of course, the implications resonate far beyond Silicon Valley.

Businesses of all sizes offer a variety of benefits for employees that go beyond traditional payment for services.  Free coffee and soda beverages; free snacks; free meals; free dry cleaning services; free bus transportation; free health clinic services — the list goes on, and it’s all over the country.  Rules are complex about which additional compensations may constitute taxable perks.

The concern for the rest of us who do not get free lunches, is whether the American taxpayers are in effect giving already-highly-paid individuals a tax break.  Mark Maremont, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, called the food spreads “lavish buffets.”

A former Google marketing employee told that the free lunches his wife, a current Google employee, still enjoys are “a phenomenal convenience, a terrific motivator, and a great social thing.” He said the proposed tax is “stupid.”

Employee Lunch Photo via Shutterstock


Nexus 5X Users Experiencing Boot Loop Issues Being Offered Full Refund by LG

Nexus 5X Users Experiencing Boot Loop Issues Being Offered Full Refund by LGNexus 5X Users Experiencing Boot Loop Issues Being Offered Full Refund by LG
Nexus 5X users began complaining of the issue in September
Google is no longer selling the Nexus 5X smartphone
LG says it does not have the relevant part in stock to affect repairs
LG USA is reportedly offering full refunds to users experiencing boot loops on their Nexus 5X smartphones. While normally the process would be to repair, replace, or issue a refurbished unit, the company in this is offering a full refund as it doesn’t have the parts (and presumably new units) to affect a repair. Notably, with the launch of the Pixel smartphones, Google is no longer selling the Nexus 5X.

Reports of the refund policy come from Reddit users, and are seen on the dedicated Nexus 5X subreddit. Users that have given their devices to LG for repairs are now receiving an email that informs them a part required to fix the issue is longer available. They are then asked to produce a sales receipt so that the company can determine the exact amount that needs to be refunded.

“We’re sorry to hear that you’ve experienced a problem with your LGH790 and appreciate you giving us the opportunity to provide a warranty repair. We have received your device at our repair facility but currently a part to complete the repair is out of stock and is no longer available.
To rectify this issue, we would like to offer you a refund for the full amount of your device. That amount will be determined by your sales receipt. Your refund can take approximately 4 weeks to receive due to the holiday.”
The Nexus 5X boot loop issue was first seen in September when the Android 7.0 Nougat update was released. At that point, Google said a very small number of users were affected by the issue, and that it was a hardware issue, and not related to software. The search giant had also said that users should contact their place of purchase for warranty or repair options. Presumably since then, the company has run out of a required part and thus offering refunds instead.

While the refund option recently began being provided in the US, it’s reasonable to expect the company to offer a similar option to affected Nexus 5X users in other parts of the world. To recall, the LG-made Nexus smartphone was launched back in October last year, and like most phones, has a 1-year manufacturer warranty. If you are experiencing the issue, we suggest you contact LG sooner than later to avoid possible issues with warranty.

LG Google Nexus 5X LG Google Nexus 5XRs. 26,990
Battery life
Value for money
Pure Android 6.0
Fingerprint sensor
Good camera
Good overall performance
Limited storage
USB Type-C adapters required
Ditches wireless charging
Read detailed LG Google Nexus 5X review
LG Google Nexus 5X (Ice, 16GB) – OFFER
Rs. 26,990
LG Google Nexus 5X (Carbon, 16GB) – OFFER
Rs. 26,990
Tags: Android 7.0 Nougat, Boot Loop, Google, LG