More companies than ever are offering that last perk, but it’s still a fringe benefit. Two bills making their way through Congress could change that, by giving companies a tax incentive to help employees repay their student loans.
At the moment, when employees get money to pay off their student debt, it counts as taxable income, like a salary bump, just for debt payments. Unlike money that goes toward a 401(k), both employees and employers have to pay taxes on the benefit. For many businesses, it costs more than it’s worth. “I think the tax treatment now is a detriment to more companies adopting this,” said Rob Lavet, general counsel for SoFi, a nonbank lender, which works with around 400 employers that give employees loan refinancing reductions.