Feds say employee discounts won't be taxed after CRA document suggests they will

The Trudeau government insists that employee discounts will not be taxed despite an updated Canada Revenue Agency document that suggested they will be.

Political rivals and business lobby groups, including the Retail Council of Canada, have voiced strong concerns that new wording in a government document could lead to higher taxes on retail workers, many of whom earn lower wages.

But National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier insists that Ottawa is not targeting retail-sector workers amid worries that changes in the latest version of a CRA document could force some individuals to pay tax on employee discounts.

Lebouthillier's office says the updated CRA guidance document was only intended to help employers understand their tax-reporting requirements.

However, a source in her office says the decision to change the wording in the document was made by the CRA without the minister's approval.

The updated CRA guidance document for employers, known as a tax folio, states that when an employee receives a discount on merchandise because of their employment, ``the value of the discount is generally included in the employee's income.''