Demantling the Fiscal Barriers to BYOD

Posted on May 29, 2012

Source: Cult of Mac

In enterprise computing, the phrase BYOD is all the rage, Bring Your Own Device. The idea being that employees can bring their own computer-based devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, to work instead of using corporate issued devices.

This has very much started with the iPhone and been accelerated with the introduction of tablets such as the [iPad]]( “The iPad is creating demand for BYOD”). The whole concept of BYOD has a lot of advantages, but there are also potential difficulties that could stem the popularity of this movement.

For employees, it’s sure that they gain from being able to choose the devices that they’re more comfortable using. Prefer Windows? Choose a Microsoft stack. Apple guy? Go for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. No more frustration of having to use a Windows PC when you’re more comfortable on another platform.

The concerns of corporate IT have also been well versed. Obviously the big one of data security is being worked on, with various solutions now available on the market. The other issue is support – who do you turn to if your $10 Android phone keeps crashing?

Yet, one of the other barriers to the adoption of BYOD is fiscal. If you are a company providing a laptop to your employees, you can deduct it as an expense. Let’s say you provide a $1500 computer to an employee, you can amortize that over three years at $500 a year.

So you could give your employee $500 towards their IT costs. But the government will take roughly 50% of that in various taxes, leaving only $250. Now a device bought by an employee will probably be used both for professional and personal purposes (as may one provided by an employer, but I digress), so there can be an argument to considering some of the cost as income tax.

Interestingly, here in Québec, skilled laborers can deduct from the income taxes costs relative to the tools they use, such as electric drills, saws etc. And I’m sure that Quebec is not the only jurisdiction to allow this, the US tax code as well as other provinces may have similar rules.

So oughtn’t funds provided by employers for BYOD programs be similarly offered at a reduced tax rate?

What do you think? Leave your opinions below.