(a) Benefit. (b) Cost.
(a) It is a taxable benefit in Canada.
What does that mean? A taxable benefit is part of your total remuneration package that is not provided in cash money. Examples are health benefits and gifts from your employer. In many business settings we see working people with multiple cell phones. The work phone and the family phone. Or in the self employment world we often see people who answer personal calls back to back with business communications.
The provision of a cell phone to an employee in Canada is considered a “blended” benefit. You are required to determine what portion is used personally and what portion is used by the employer. This might explain why cell phone companies offer evenings and weekends free in some calling plans. Perhaps there is an argument that the evenings and weekends being free are a zero cost benefit to the employee.
On the flip side employees can personally deduct cell phone costs in Canada if their employer requires them to use their personal phones.
The complexity of keeping track of the expense allocation in both cases is mind boggling. I, as a Tax Practitioner, look forward to cell phones being declared a basic human right and also being declared non taxable or being declared a health hazard and being removed forcibly from our lives. Both are as reasonable and as likely to happen as measuring and dividing the personal usage of a cell phone from the business usage.