How Imputed Income Impacts Your Finances: Detailed Guide

Farwah Jafri | April 18 2023

What is Imputed Income?

Imputed income refers to the value of non-cash benefits received by an individual or a household in addition to their cash income. The employer or the government usually provides these benefits, including company health insurance, company cars, housing, and meals.

The concept of imputed income is based on the idea that these non-cash benefits are equivalent to cash income and should, therefore, be counted as income for tax purposes and for determining eligibility for government benefits.

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For example, if an employee earns $50,000 in cash income and receives an employer-provided health insurance plan worth $10,000, their imputed income would be $60,000. This would be the total income reported to the IRS and used to determine their tax liability.

Let us explore the imputed income concept in detail.

What is Meant by Fringe Benefits?

After knowing what is imputed income, let us discover what does fringe benefit means.

Fringe benefits, also known as perks, are additional non-wage compensations provided to employees by their employers. These benefits range from small incentives to significant privileges and help attract and retain top talent while boosting employee morale.

Some examples of fringe benefits include:

Health Insurance

Many companies offer their employees’ health insurance benefits that cover medical, dental, and vision costs. This can include premiums paid entirely by the employer or cost-sharing with employees.

Retirement Plans

Employers may offer various retirement plans, such as 401(k) or pension plans, to help employees save for their future.

Paid Time Off

It includes vacation days, sick leave, and personal days that employees can use to take time off work while still receiving their salary.

Education and Training Programs

Employers may provide opportunities for their employees to enhance their skills and knowledge by offering training and education programs, tuition reimbursement, or scholarships.

Wellness Programs

Companies may offer various wellness programs, such as gym memberships, nutrition programs, or mental health support, to promote the physical and mental well-being of their employees.

Transportation Benefits

Some companies provide transportation benefits, such as transit passes or parking subsidies, to help employees with commuting expenses.

These fringe benefits can help employees feel valued and supported, increasing job satisfaction and creating a more positive work environment.

Formula and Calculations

Imputed income is the monetary value of benefits an individual receives from an asset they own or use but do not pay for, such as a home or company car. It is calculated as the asset’s market value or benefit minus any associated expenses or costs. The formula for imputed income is as follows:

Imputed Income = Market Value of Asset/Benefit – Expenses/Costs

For example, let’s say you own a house and live in it. You do not pay rent because you own the house, but you could earn $2,500 per month if you rent it out. The market value of the house is $500,000, and your property taxes, mortgage interest, and insurance amount to $2,000 per month.

To calculate your imputed income, you would use the formula:

Imputed Income = Market Value of Asset/Benefit – Expenses/Imputed Costs Income = $2,500 – $2,000 Imputed income = $500 per month

In this example, you have an imputed income of $500 per month, representing the benefit of living in the house without paying rent.

How can one Report Imputed Income for their Employees?

Imputed income is a term used to describe taxable income that is not received in the form of cash but rather through non-cash benefits provided by an employer. Examples of imputed income include employer-provided group term life insurance over $50,000, employer-provided parking, and employer-provided meals.

When it comes to reporting imputed income for your employees, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Here are the general steps:

Determine the value of the imputed income

The first step is to determine the value of the imputed income you provide to your employees. For example, if you provide your employees with free parking that would otherwise cost them $100 per month, the imputed income value would be $1,200 per year ($100 x 12 months).

Include imputed income on the employee’s W-2

Imputed income must be included on the employee’s W-2 form, a tax form that reports the employee’s income for the year. The imputed income should be reported in Box 12 using the code “C.”

Withhold taxes on imputed income

Depending on the type of imputed income, you may need to withhold taxes on the value of the benefit. For example, suppose you provide your employees with group term life insurance above $50,000. In that case, the value of the excess coverage must be included in the employee’s taxable income, and you may need to withhold taxes on that amount.

Communicate imputed income to employees

It’s important to communicate to your employees the value of the imputed income you provide and how it will be reported on their W-2 forms. This can help them understand their total compensation package and avoid surprises when filing their tax returns.

In a Nutshell…

In conclusion, imputed income can have a significant impact on your finances, and it’s important to understand how it works. Imputed income refers to the value of non-cash compensation or benefits that an employee receives from their employer, and it’s taxable. To mitigate the impact of imputed income on your finances, it’s important to consider strategies such as negotiating for cash compensation instead of fringe benefits or taking advantage of tax deductions and credits. By understanding how imputed income works and taking steps to manage it effectively, you can ensure that you’re making the most of your compensation package while minimizing your tax liability.

Read Also: What Is An Income Statement And Why Is It Important?

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.