While on the job, many restaurant workers eat meals prepared by their employers. The IRS regards this practice as a fringe benefit. Owners can exclude the value of meals provided to employees from their wages — making the meals nontaxable — if:
- The provided meals are on business premises; and
- The meals were for the convenience of the employer (i.e., employees didn’t have to leave their jobs to find a meal).
To determine what the IRS means when they say “exclude the value of meals provided” click here.
An employer may compel an employee to pay the cost of acquiring or maintaining uniforms required on the job. However, the cost of purchasing and/or maintaining a uniform must not bring the employee below the minimum wage. If workers at the minimum wage rate must wear a uniform, their employers must clean and maintain them or pay the employees to do so. Ordinary clothing (such as black trousers and white shirts) are generally not considered “uniforms.”
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