As technology improves, it becomes ever more present in our lives and in the business community. First, there were payphones, then came home phones followed closely by cellphones and, finally, smartphones. But innovation never stops, and despite its massive growth, the wearable tech industry is still in its infancy.
Industry analyst CCS Insight predicts that wearable tech will increase at a rate of 20% per year for the next 5 years, making it a 29 billion dollar industry by 2022. The Apple Watch alone has now sold over 16 million units according to CCS, with sales growing 60% in 2017.
As the wearables industry continues to grow, it will open up new avenues for monitoring health and providing incentives for employees to stay healthy. With wearable tech becoming more and more popular the question arises for business owners: what does this mean for employer health plans?
Tax Implications of Wearables: What’ll the CRA Say?
Although smartwatches are still relatively new and the rules are not set, some believe that smartwatches will be tax deductible. As far as the CRA is concerned, your smartwatch is an extension of your phone. If you, a business owner, use your smartwatch for business purposes—that is, for things like setting calendar dates, sending messages, or making hands-free calls—then a percentage of it could be written off.
But even if you can’t justify your brand new Apple Watch as a business expense, you may be able to expense it another way. Certain employer health plans allow you to provide taxable wellness benefits for your employees. Plans of this kind allow your employees to deduct things like gym memberships as wellness expenses. Under such a plan, a piece of wearable tech like an Apple Watch may be tax deductible because it supports healthy living just as a gym membership does.
This is good news for employers on multiple levels.
Keeping Employees Productive with Health-Boosting Tech
Making Apple Watches as well as other wellness products tax deductible has a number of benefits. We all know how unhealthy prolonged sitting can be. There are many ways to combat the modern sedentary business lifestyle, but perhaps the easiest is to simply stand up once in a while.
The Apple Watch’s Activity app can track your daily movements and the time you spend exercising, and it even gives you reminders to stand. All of this helps keep employees healthy, and we know that healthy employees are generally happier and more productive. So a company with a plan that allows wearable tech to be tax deductible has a distinct advantage.
Attract Better Talent with an Innovative Health Plan
But the benefits of wearables in the workplace don’t stop at simply making workers healthier and more active. By using a health plan that allows you to deduct Apple Watches, you can give your existing staff more benefits that will help you retain them longer – which is important when you’re facing a talent shortage.
This kind of a health plan also makes you a much more attractive employer to those looking for jobs, which means you can increase the quality of job applicants you receive when it comes time to hire. With a great health plan that allows you to deduct the cost of new health technology for your employees, you’re bound to be a more attractive option to the many talented professionals looking for work in your industry.
Although wearable tech is still in its infancy, there is still a significant opportunity for business owners. With the right health plan, you can claim more deductions, improve productivity, and even attract better talent. For more information about how to integrate wearable tech into your health plan, contact Points West Insurance Services today.