No longer allow companies to externalize the cost of communications technology onto employees

Whenever an employee works from home they should be able to gain tax credits for the usage of their Internet. When they use their personal cell phone, they should able to claim a tax credit as well, this especially important if more than just texts are used.

There’s a horrible practice where some employers pretend to help you claim the Internet and cell phone usage of the company in your personal taxes. Some employers may even pay you back some small percentage of your cell phone plan. However, the government will not give you any tax benefit at all on these claims. In fact, if the employer pays for some of your plan, it counts as additional income that can be taxed!

As a software developer, if you work from home, your company is offloading their costs for maintaining an office onto you. That’s fine, but they’re also offloading all Internet and cell phone communications costs onto you as well. This is not right since you are not compensated for that and you cannot claim any tax benefits from it. Not only does the company get valuable work from you, they’re also bumming a few good gigabytes of Internet from you every month, they’re taking your cell phone minutes and texts for free.

In the current situation, if an employer wants you to use your personal Internet or cell phone service, you should: ask for more money to completely cover these expenses: or, ask for a cell phone and cell phone provided and completely paid for by the company; or, in the case of Internet, ask for a company provided router. The key is that you’re either paid more to compensate for the rental of your personal Internet and cell phone plans, or you’re completely covered by a company plan.

In the future, we encourage federal and state governments to implement a tax policy that gives complete tax credits for a cell phone or Internet plan when any of the plan has been used for work purposes.

Also published on Medium.

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