The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act significantly revised long-standing rules regarding the tax treatment of many employer provided in-kind benefits. Instead of including the value of these benefits in the recipients’ taxable income, for the most part the new rules disallow employers a deduction for the cost of providing the affected benefits. This article argues that the two components of this legislative scheme – relying on cost of provision as the measure of taxable income and on imposing the nominal tax obligation on providers rather than recipients – are distinct policy decisions. It argues that the better approach would be to require employers to allocate their costs of providing benefits among recipients of those benefits.
Roin, Julie, "The Case For (And Against) Surrogate Taxation" (2019). Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers. 775.