We wish to confirm whether benefits to staff consisting of remote area housing assistance in the form of employee rent reimbursements/payment are reportable fringe benefits?
The reportable fringe benefits regime does not apply to all fringe benefits an employer may provide to employees.
Certain benefits (called ‘excluded benefits’) are not required to be included when determining whether an employee has the requisite minimum of more than $2,000 in taxable value of benefits at which level reporting is required.
Section 60 of the FBT Act applies to reduce the taxable value of certain remote area housing related benefits.
Remote area related housing benefits such as housing loans, housing loan interest, housing rent etc provided in connection with the usual place of residence of an employee living/working in a remote area are subject to a 50% reduction in taxable value.
The reporting exclusion covers the entire benefit provided, that is, the taxable and non-taxable portion.
The reporting exclusion also applies whether or not the taxable portion is within any relevant FBT exemption or rebate cap that may be applicable based on the characteristics of the employer.
Where your housing assistance meets the section 60 criteria (as it appears to) it is an excluded fringe benefit.