Excluding vacation periods from standby, ROEs for employees on salary deferrence (Ask an expert)

Salary defferal plans and ROEs, standby charges for taxable benefits
By Annie Chong
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 06/27/2013

Question: We provide some employees with company automobiles. When calculating the standby charge for their automobile taxable benefit, can we exclude periods that they are away on vacation if they leave the car and the car keys at their home while they are away?

Answer: No, you have to include the time the employees are away on vacation. It is the CRA’s position that the time must be included since the vehicle is still available to the employee because the keys are in the employee’s house, not at the employer’s place of business. The CRA’s view is that an automobile is available to an employee if the employee has access to or control over the automobile. Access ends only when the employee gives all of the automobile keys to the employer. If an employee leaves the keys with the employer while away on vacation and this is clearly documented, the CRA would allow the employer to exclude the vacation period when calculating the standby charge.