Tax Benefits of Years of Service and Employee Engagement Awards

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Years of Service and Employee Engagement Awards play a key role in helping you attract top talent, foster employee engagement and promote employee retention. These awards are not only great for boosting employee morale, but they also can give your business tax benefits. 

TCJA and Employee Achievement Awards

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the 2017 law allowed employers to deduct the cost of certain employee achievement awards. Deductible awards were also excludible from employee income. However, this has now been clarified, with special rules allowing an employee to exclude certain achievement awards from their wages if the awards are tangible personal property. An employer also may deduct awards that are tangible personal property, subject to certain deduction limits. 

Limitations of Tax Benefit

IRS regulations in place before the new tax law restrict these tax advantages to length-of-service awards or safety awards given during meaningful presentations. The award should also not be given under circumstances that indicate that the payment is disguised compensation. 

In addition to the above limitations, the IRS requires that:

  • The award is a tangible item like a plaque, watch, ring or pen, or similar items, including those an employee selects from a catalog.
  • Tangible items do not include cash, cash equivalents, gift cards, vacations, meals, lodging, theater tickets, sports tickets, stocks, bonds or similar items.
  • The maximum excludable annual award amount per employee is $1,600, or $400 for awards that are not "qualified plan awards."
  • A qualified plan award is an achievement award that is given as part of an established, written awards program and doesn't favor highly compensated employees.
  • Length-of-service awards can't be received during the employee's first five years of employment or more often than every five years.
  • Safety awards can't be given to more than 10 percent of eligible employees during the same year.

 

Employee Benefits of Employee Achievement Awards

Corporate awards and employee recognition programs can have a huge positive impact on your office and employee morale. By recognizing your employees and their accomplishments within your organization, you are showcasing how much they mean to your organization and how they are a valuable asset in your team. Years of Service and Employee Recognition Awards have many benefits including: 

Increased Productivity

A survey discussed in the Harvard Business Review found that 40% of employed Americans would put energy into their work if they were recognized more often. By implementing praise for employee and company wins, you will be reinforcing positive behaviors and providing positive feedback. Employees will put more effort into their work, increasing productivity and ROI.

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Reducing employee turnover and retaining top talent is a challenge many businesses often face. Today, more employees are looking for wellness benefits, positive company culture, and more in addition to just salary alone. By implementing years of service or achievement award programs, you can give employees something to look forward to, build an encouraging culture, and attract top talent. By reducing turnover you can also reduce hiring and training costs which can sometimes cost twice the salary of an existing employee. 

C.A. Short’s Years of Service and Employee Engagement Programs

Employee engagement and recognition platforms can offer your business a variety of benefits. C.A. Short Company has over 75 years of experience helping businesses attract, retain, and engage their employees. We help you craft the perfect program that is catered to your business needs and aligns with organizational goals. Schedule your free demo today to take a tour of our People Are Everything™ platform and talk to one of our employee recognition specialists. 

Employee Engagement Survey | C.A. Short Company

Topics: years of service

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.

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