The biggest benefit of this approach is that the cost is relatively stable. There are actually laws surrounding what employees are entitled to when it comes to compensation for personal cell phone use. Policy brief & purpose Our employee cell phone policy outlines our guidelines for using cell phones at work. If employees feel entitled to more than the fixed amount, many companies require them to submit proof. The basis of the case was that these employees were not reimbursed for incurred expenses for work-related use. Oops! If an employee needs to use the cell phone for personal use or for the emergency call, it is good to inform the company with relevant reasoning. They also address security measures that keep both the employee and the company information safe and confidential. Yet, the question still remains, how much of that is for personal use, and how much is work-related? Further details on what they are: Stipends are often given out monthly. The following are [company name] 's basic guidelines for proper employee cell phone use during work hours. Another controversial aspect of this law is that employees deserve reimbursement even if work-related use didn't cost them a single dime! Smriti Nair is the originator and writer of this blog post. These payments are referred to as mobile stipends. Again, the key is that employees are reimbursed a “reasonable percentage” of their phone bill. The remaining options (BYOD, COPE and reimbursement) exclude cell phone reimbursements from wages, thereby contributing to tax-saving. Earned time, saved costs, improved productivity, happy employees - achieve it all with a single software. If the employee has unlimited minutes or data, the employer is still required to pay "a reasonable percentage of the employee's cell phone bill.". Awesome! But whatever they choose, they'll know that all of their employees should have access to the same software and features. 1.1. Employers can mix and match two or three of these options to see what works best for them. Employee Signature: _____ _____ Date:_____ Printed Name Supervisory Certification and Signature: I certify that the requested allowance is needed for this employee, to cover work-related expenditures due to cell phone use, or other, as described above. We recognize that cell phones (and smartphones especially) have become an integral part of everyday life. SUGGESTED READ: How to create an IRS-compliant expense reimbursement policy. Thank you! Or do you want to provide company phones? Companies might decide they want to go with Apple's iOS, Google's Android, or some other option. Under these policies, many employers are paying anywhere from $30 to $50 per month toward employee cell phone bills. Employees do not have to report the reimbursement as taxable income. Creating a cell phone policy is no easy feat. As a result, the IRS released a memorandum on how to manage reimbursement to employees of employee-owned cell phones.  If employees receive cell phone reimbursement, it can be excluded from the employee's wages; provided the company follows the accountable plan by the IRS. Schedule a demo today, and let's get started! Despite being an integral part of daily work, many companies still do not have an effective cell phone reimbursement policy in place. Do you need help managing your company's expenses and drafting clear policies? This helps convert an otherwise long and tedious task into something that just takes a few minutes to report and manage. By using this method, companies are opening the door to countless discrepancies, which can become troublesome, both financially and legally. Under these policies, many employers are paying anywhere from $30 to $50 per month toward employee cell phone bills. For purpose… They may be a great asset if used correctly (for productivity apps, calendars, business calls etc.) Prior to 2010, if a company provided a cell phone (or any communication equipment) to the employee, IRS considered it as listed property and treated it as a fringe benefit. Even this can take precious time and energy better spent elsewhere. If you decide to reimburse employees for their cell phone use, should you do so under an accountable or non-accountable plan? E.g., One employee whose job depends on the phone, may be reimbursed 100%; in office staff, on the other hand, with less frequent use could get a stipend of $25 (or $50 or $100) or a lower percentage than others (e.g., 10%). A "necessary” expense is defined in section 9.5 as all reasonable expenses that: (a) are required by the employer in the discharge of the employees’ duties; and (b) are primarily for the benefit … Effortless expense management for all business spends. The caveat is that, in California, regardless of whether the employer approves personal cell phone use for employees, if expenses are incurred, they have to pay. Some even compare it to unauthorized overtime. Our employee cell phone policyoutlines our guidelines for using cell phones at work. It follows that if employers allow their employees to opt to use their personal cell phone, instead of a company-issued cell phone, that they should be reimbursed a reasonable percentage of their phone bill for work-related calls or other data usage for using texts or the internet for work purposes. We promise to send across some good stuff. A cell phone reimbursement stipend, or a cell phone allowance, is a sum of money given to employees for them to purchase on their cell phone plans. No matter what accounting plan or cell phone policy you choose, automation can help both employees and finance teams. How much should you reimburse each employee? SUGGESTED READ: Balancing expense policy compliance and happy employees. But changes cannot occur in a void. Security is important, so it’s vital to … Thank you! How to create an IRS-compliant expense reimbursement policy. Expense accounts are commonplace in larger corporations that require employees to travel and network as part of their job description. For employers, this means more administrative legwork, which can increase overhead costs. Cell Phone Allowance. It's no surprise that cell phone reimbursement has become a hot topic. The cell phone company policy may also be referred to as a no mobile phones at work policy or a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. If your company needs to adapt, change, modify or amend your cell phone policy at work, those changes need to be clearly and consistently communicated to all employees, even those who might not appear to be affected by the change. Carrier fees 2. If you’d like to understand the different ways in which Fyle can help your organisation stay compliant and keep employees happy, schedule a demo today! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Here we'll break down the newest laws in cell phone reimbursement and how to guarantee both you and your employees are getting a fair deal. Please note that this article is a general summary of law … 1.1. On the other hand, employers are now tasked with making sure employees aren't using the company phone for personal use.Â. Call Supervision. “Cell phone allowances or the use of employer-provided cell phones may constitute taxable fringe benefits which are included in the employee’s taxable income and form part of the remuneration for purposes of employees’ withholding tax. Oops! Employers consider several factors when drafting accountable policies for candidate reimbursement and determining stipend amounts. Be sure to drop her a note at shruti.kesavan@fyle.in, if you're looking for any guest blogging opportunities. Employers include stipend as additional wages in W-2 and it is subjected to income tax and employment tax withholding requirements. To answer the question "are cell phone allowances taxable?" This makes it easier for employers to budget and allocate funds to cover cell phone reimbursement. The following are the policies you can implement: That said, it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. With constant updates and advancements in cell phone technology, it only makes sense that you create a cell phone policy that can adapt to  change. The tax regulations of cell phone reimbursement boil down to three questions the company must answer: 1. On the rare occasion when a department may make a cell phone available for multiple individuals to use and a cell phone is not assigned to a specific individual and no personal calls are made on these phones, the phone may be used by employees without using the taxable allowance program. Let’s take these three decisions in order. What personal cell phone use is considered "work-related"? We promise to send across some good stuff. This would not be applicable if the cell phone is provided to boost morale or attract employees. In this situation, companies create a policy that requires staff to prove any work-related cell phone usage and expenses. While this may seem unfair to some, it's the California law. The employee must return the excess amount to the employer.Â, No matter how complicated your approval workflow is, Fyle can manage it with ease with its. Once submitted, managers can approve these expenses in a click of a button. The major downside of this option is obvious – cost. Designated employees who are required to perform these functions as part of their job duties will either be issued a Company-owned cell phone or will receive reasonable reimbursement for the value of the use of their personal cell phones in direct consequence of the discharge of their job duties. Eligible e mployees (below) may receive a cell phone stipend from the U niversity for business - related costs incurred when using their personal cell phones. These laws protect both employees and employers. Fyle is a new-age expense management software that can solve all your expense management woes! Notification Technology keeps changing and so should a good company cell phone policy at work. That said, there was no clarity on how to treat cell phone reimbursement of employee-owned phones. This places responsibility on the employee.Â. Is reimbursement right for your business? This is the question companies across the globe are trying to answer. The defense is that the company is passing it's operating expenses onto the employee. monthly cell phone allowance shall not exceed the cost of the employee’s monthly cell phone plan or the monthly charge for a shared plan containing the employee’s cell phone number. According to the IRS regulations: By opting for the accountable plan, the company takes the responsibility of collating and submitting the documents to the IRS. Mobile management overhead 3. Employers also rest easy knowing their employees have the necessary tools to complete the job. While we leave the choices up to you, Fyle can do much more than just streamlining your employee reimbursements! In general, cell phones should not be used when they could pose a security or safety risk, or when they distract from work tasks: Never use a cell phone while driving. Your subscription has been received! Personal cell phones don't allow you to monitor your employees' calls. 5. At the option of the employee and with appointing authority approval, providing appropriate funds have been budgeted, employee may opt to receive a monthly cell phone allowance of seventy dollars ($70.00) for use of a privately owned cell phone to conduct County business. This allowance is considered taxable income and should appear in the employee’s W-2 form.‍. Such phones should be The advantage of this approach is that employers are only paying for what employees actually use. How much of that money are you required to pay back? Depending on the size of the company and the number of employees, paying multiple cell phone bills could get quite costly. Without a stipend in place, staff members can sue their employers for associated costs. Using a company cell phone is mostly a trust bond between an employer and an employee, which should be respected deeply. While this is an unpopular solution for many employers, for some, it's more about peace of mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering what type of cell phone reimbursement policy is best for your business: As with most things in life, it comes down to money. 1. Land lines are always available and all significant others and children are allowed to call in any time. But cloud … By simply paying for your staff's cell phone bills, you're sidestepping any sticky legal issues or long, drawn-out debates over percentages. Employers consider several factorswhendrafting these policies and determining stipend amounts.Here are just a few: 1. Awesome! Shruti Kesavan leads Content Marketing at Fyle. But, cell phones may also cause problems when used imprudently or excessively. The employer includes the value of the equipment in the wages, unless it is a working condition fringe benefit. The proof is in the pudding, and many employers want to see exactly what their employees are claiming as work-related expenses. A solution is to calculate the average time spent on work-related projects and then pay that portion of the employee's total cell phone bill. I have attached Sample Cell Phone Reimbursement Policy. On the flip-side, employees may be liable for compromising secure company information. This can improve internal communication and it certainly streamlines work for informati… As you could imagine, this approach gets quite tedious and time-consuming. You've provided a cell phone specifically for that purpose. 4th 1137 (2014). SUGGESTED READ: How to manage receipts to ensure your team is always audit-ready? According to the non accountable plan, employees receive a monthly allowance for expenses that wouldn’t need any documents for proof. For those companies looking at cutting down on administrative costs, simply paying employees a fixed amount is a viable option. 1. According to a survey by Oxford Economics, close to 80 percent of the organisations said that employees couldn’t do their job efficiently without cellphones. The Cochran case provides guidance on how to calculate a reasonable reimbursement for the mandatory use of personal devices such as cell phones: employers must compensate their employees for a "reasonable percentage" of the employee's cell phone bill under Section 2802. While BYOD reduces the acquisition costs for the employer, it comes at the cost of data security. An employee who uses a company-supplied device or a company-supplied vehicle is prohibited from using a smartphone, cell phone, hands-on or hands-off phone, or similar device while driving, whether the business conducted is personal or company-related. If you have the manpower, the most accurate way to, If you choose to provide company cell phones, be prepared to. Providing employees with a company cell phone means the expenses are already calculated. Offering cell phone reimbursement isn't just about being a kind-hearted boss. This question makes it difficult for employers to decide on what type of cell phone reimbursement to create and how to protect themselves against legal ramifications. Similarly, although COPE takes care of data security and improves productivity, it entails a lot of hidden costs. Your subscription has been received! Under newly enacted section 9.5 of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (“Act”) (effective January 1, 2019), employers are obligated to reimburse employees for all necessary expenses incurred within the scope of their employment. These payments may be excluded from taxable income only … The employee must show that the cell phone and the accompanying service plan was used for a business purpose.Â. One thing that still remains undetermined is what constitutes a reasonable percentage? We will not be liable for the loss of personal cell phones brought into the workplace. Employees are not authorized to use personal cell phones in place of company provided phones and radios. It's also difficult to calculate a true figure in terms of cell phone use for employees with unlimited data plans. Never use a cell phone while operating equipment. The employee must produce an expense report, along with the receipts. The allowance shall be paid to the employee after documentation has been submitted to the county auditor that a personal cell plan is in effect and a cost has been incurred or obligated. But remember, employees must agree on this amount, and it should be clearly outlined in the policy. Once the company decides to reimburse employees for business expenses, it should decide whether to follow the Accountable plan or the Non-Accountable plan. This is especially suitable for companies whose employees use their personal phones for work on a regular basis. Earned time, saved costs, improved productivity, happy employees - achieve it all with a single software. The use of a cell phone’s recording or photographic capability on company premises is prohibited. While these laws vary from state to state, California is leading the way in this growing trend. Additionally, we also discuss how an Expense Reimbursement Software can make cell phone reimbursements effortless for your company.Â. With an automated software, employees can simply click and upload a picture of their cell phone bill. Employers exclude the value of the device from the employee's wages. Include Security Concerns, Accountability, And Permissible Use. The value of the cell phone was still to be included in the employee’s wages as a taxable fringe benefit. The downside is that this could potentially impact employee productivity and company morale. The employer includes the value of the equipment in the wages, unless it is a … If the employee chooses to use their personal mobile device, that's on them! BYOD, or bring your own device, policies are becoming more common in work environments. Cochran v. Schwan's Home Serv., Inc., 228 Cal. Sit down and crunch numbers before you settle on a solution. $ Cell Phone Policy 1 4 Cell Phone Policy 2 7 Cell Phone Policy 3 8 Cell Phone Policy 4 9 Cell Phone Policy 5 10 Cell Phone Policy 6 11 Cell Phone Policy 7 12 Cell Phone Policy 8 13 ... employees who use their cell phone for business purposes to have their phone password protected. And how do you measure these factors? With Fyle, you can manage all your employee cell phone reimbursements with ease.Â. Once the company decides the plan, the next step would be to choose the cell phone policy. Here are just a few: But these BYOD policies cover much more than only cell phone bills. Simply put, any company that does not follow the rules mentioned under the Accountable plan, comes under the non-accountable plan (aka Allowance plan). However, the cell phone must be issued primarily for noncompensatory business reasons. The biggest downside to this form of cell phone reimbursement is the grey area that exists between the fixed amount and what the employees feel they're entitled to. Notice 2011-72 addresses the tax treatment of employer-provided cell phones for noncompensatory purposes. When not convincing people to automate their expense management, she loves to read, travel, and explore the world with her pup. If you're a business owner running a successful company, chances are you have multiple employees using their mobile devices for work.Â. Scope: The cell phone usage policy applies to all employees, managers and supervisors. Things changed, after the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.  Cell phones or any mobile devices were no longer a listed property for the tax year starting from December 31, 2009. Any personal use of the cell phone is considered a de minimis fringe benefit, also excluded from the wages. The Notice provides that, for tax years after December 31, 2009, the IRS will treat the employees use of employer-provided cell phones for reasons related to the employers trade or business as a working condition fringe benefit, the value of which is excludable from the employees income. This figure varies depending on the company and the agreed-upon policy. In this article, we discuss the guidelines one must keep in mind while devising a cell phone reimbursement policy. Whatever expense reimbursement policy you craft, make sure the guidelines are abundantly clear.Â, Five ways to make expense reporting easier for employees, Balancing expense policy compliance and happy employees. Companies must also consider cost when it comes to purchasing phones company-wide. During this milestone case, the California Court of Appeals filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 1,500 customer service managers. Excessive use of a cell phone for personal reasons while at work is not allowed. this policy. From the tax-saving point of view, stipends are the least tax-effective option. These changes came on the heels of a controversial court case: Cochran vs. Schwan's Home Services. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to cell phone reimbursement for employees. Effortless expense management for all business spends. We implemented a phones in your car policy and now allow 2-15 min breaks at 10 am and 3 pm.for employees to check their phones and smoke if needed. However, after IRS Notice 2011-72, a company-provided cell phone for business purposes is treated as a working condition fringe benefit. These payments are referred to as mobile stipends. Additionally, any personal use of the employer-provided cell phone will be treated as a de minimis fringe benefit, excludable from the employee’s gross income under § 132 (e) of the Code. You need to ensure that it is homogenous and complies with your existing expense policy stipulations. Most common mistakes in corporate expense management, Challenges finance teams face with travel & expense management, BYOD, or bring your own device, policies are becoming more common in work environments. Ne… An Accountable plan lets you reimburse employees by following IRS regulations on business expenses. Why not lump cell phone use under the umbrella of expense accounts? Which of these options makes the most financial sense for your company? intend to comply with the University’s Cell Phone Policy. We recognize that cell phones (and smartphones especially) have become an integral part of everyday life. The cell phone policy of a company is merely a list of rules and guidelines that explain the dos and don’ts of using a cell phone in a work environment and during working hours. Employers must protect their legal interests, as well as their integrity. This figure varies depending on the company and the agreed-upon policy.Â. From checking emails and sending text messages to hosting video conferences, many professionals rely on cell phones as their mobile office. With so many different laws and unclear expectations, how can companies create a compliant, reasonable cell phone reimbursement policy? The good news is, the employer has access to all cell phone records and can control the associated plans. With duplicate detection, you can keep fraudsters at bay and rest assured that your expense management is in good hands. Some employers provide an allowance for business use of a personal cell phone, such as paying $20 per month. Instead of resigning yourself to being "damned if you do and damned if you don't", let's examine different ways to approach the cell phone reimbursement debate. When employers require employees to use their personal cell phones for business use and then reimburse them for the cell phone expense, IRS examiners should analyze the reimbursement in much the same way as they would analyze the cost of a cell phone provided by the employer, based on the guidance provided in Notice 2011-72. There's also no guarantee that employees will treat the issued phones with care. The IRS rules for cell phone reimbursements Prior to 2010, if a company provided a cell phone (or any communication equipment) to the employee, IRS considered it as listed property and treated it as a fringe benefit. Except for alimited number of positions, the university will notown cell phones for the use of individual employees after January 1, 2017. This is also considered the most accurate way to calculate a reasonable percentage of use – if you have the time and patience to do it. Companies run the risk of employees damaging, losing, or having company phones stolen – this adds replacement costs to the equation. This means employees are paid for their exact amount of work-related personal cell phone use — to the penny. In today's fast-paced world, everybody has their noses in their phones for the majority of the day. Some are going as far as banning cell phones in the workplace, to avoid the risk and complications associated with creating policies and stipends. Something went wrong while submitting the form. The employee is prohibited from collecting a monthly cellular phone allowance or bi-annual equipment allowance when one’s cellular phone device is no longer active or needed for the performance of the employee’s job responsibilities. Your policy depends on factors like acquisition costs, data security, ease of access, etc. Introduction The objective of this policy is to facilitate the Employees in their jobs by increasing communication within the organization and especially with the customers and to prevent them from the hassle of purchasing Sim Cards / Hand Sets. With over 50% of the world's population owning and using a mobile device, cell phone use has become second nature to most. The cloud of ambiguity hovering around cell phone usage has put the finance department in a fix, not knowing how to handle them. By providing cell phones, employers can choose a carrier, hardware, and an operating system that best fits the company's needs. This is a popular option for a wide range of companies. Objective This policy has been introduced to: […] Some companies prefer not to play the nickel and dime game, and instead, just pay the entire amount. 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