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Inland Revenue

Tax Policy

PUBLISHED 18 April 2012

Views sought on tax treatment of salary trade-offs

An officials’ issues paper released today seeks feedback on possible options for broadening the tax rules relating to non-cash benefits received by employees as a substitute for salary or wages. For more information see the media statement and the issues paper, Recognising salary trade-offs as income. Submissions close on 31 May.

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue

Media statement

Dunne: views sought on salary trade-off tax proposals

A tax policy issues paper released today outlines a range of suggestions for broadening the tax rules around salary and wage packages that include both cash and non-cash benefits, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said.

The paper, Recognising salary trade-offs as income, focuses on salary or wages traded off for a non-cash benefit not taxable under the current rules.

Mr Dunne welcomed the paper saying it is about improving fairness in the tax and social assistance systems.

“People on equivalent salary packages should be taxed equally, irrespective of how they are paid. This does not happen when someone receives untaxed non-cash benefits in exchange for getting less cash in their pay packet,” he said.

“An example could be getting a car park provided on the employer’s premises or a benefit provided to an employee of a charitable organisation.

“The issues paper suggests these benefits would become taxable when provided as part of a salary trade-off,” he said.

A salary trade-off would be defined so as to pick up both explicit and implicit trade-offs.

“It would include untaxed benefits when the salary alternative has not been specifically identified or valued, provided the employee had an enforceable right to the benefit as part of their contract,” Mr Dunne said.

He said including both taxed and currently non-taxed benefits as income for social assistance calculation purposes, as suggested in the issues paper, would also make social assistance eligibility fairer.

“Families receiving fringe benefits may currently be eligible for social assistance while other families on an equivalent cash income are not. There is clearly a fairness issue there.”

The issues paper can be found at Submissions close on 31 May 2012.


Mark Stewart | Press Secretary | Office of Hon Peter Dunne
Cell +64 21 243 6985