Can employers require employees to use of personal devices & internet for work duties?

Employer requires using personal cell phone and internet to perform after hours support. Employees are required to provide 24X7 support on a planned schedule. They do not offer to provide tools to handle support.

Employer provides a monthly reimbursement and is treating reimbursement as wages instead of expense reimbursement thus it is taxable. Is this legal?
Is this the correct handling of the reimbursement

2 answers  |  asked Sep 9, 2014 7:08 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (2)

David Neel
I concur with Neil.

posted by David Neel  |  Sep 12, 2014 10:04 AM [EST]
Neil Klingshirn
First, I am not a tax lawyer and disclaim any tax expertise. As a business owner (my law firm), though, I believe that the expense reimbursement should be a non-taxable payment to you, not wages.

Your employer would benefit by treating a reimbursement of an expense as an expense of the business and not as wages, since the employer pays FICA and Medicaid taxes on wages. Therefore, it won't hurt to suggest the proper treatment.

Double check with an accountant on this, but I think that, if your employer insists on treating the reimbursement as wages, then it is not really a reimbursement, but in effect a raise, and you can deduct the expenses yourself, as a cost of doing business as an employee.

One more time, though, I am an employment lawyer and not a tax lawyer, so get an opinion from someone qualified to provide it.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Sep 10, 2014 08:44 AM [EST]

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