IRS Updates Fringe Benefit Rules

December 19, 2003 ( - The latest version of an Internal Revenue Service fringe benefits publication includes an increase in the largest benefit for qualified parking that a company can shelter from taxable income.

>As of January 1, the permitted qualified parking exclusion increases to $195 monthly, according to the 2004 version of IRS Publication15-B Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.

>The latest version of the fringe benefits publication also adds a new paragraph indicating that the income exclusion for accident and health benefits applies to amounts paid by the employer to maintain medical coverage under COBRA for a former employee. According to the IRS, this is true whether the premiums are paid directly or are reimbursed to the former employee, and whether the employee’s separation is permanent or temporary.

>The booklet includes a summary table illustrating how the employment tax rules (income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes) apply on a benefit-by-benefit basis.

The fringe benefits publication is available at .