On December 30th, 2015, the IRS officially announced that employers are not required to include the value of pre-breach identity protection services in employee gross income. This adds to a previous announcement where the IRS stated in August 2015,with announcement 2015-22, that post-breach identity protection benefits would have preferential tax treatment.
The most recent announcement extends this treatment to include benefits offered before a breach happens, enabling employers to offer their employees proactive identity protection at a lower overall cost to the enterprise.
In 2014, an estimated 17.6 million U.S. residents were victims of identity theft. These victims collectively lost an estimated $15.4 billion. Of those victims, 9% spent a month or more resolving issues related to identity fraud. It’s important to note that dealing with identity restoration involves coordination with banking institutions, credit organizations and law enforcement – most of which need to be completed during standard work hours.
Preventing Lost Productivity in the Workplace
It is important for employers from all industries to understand the impact of identity theft on their employees with the number of individuals facing identity fraud increasing year over year. If an employee experiences identity theft, it may take them anywhere from 24 hours to six months to fully resolve the issue. The cumulative impact may not be experienced right away – identity theft can result in damage to personal credit, financial losses, legal problems and emotional distress.
Even if an employee is on the lower end of the spectrum, the majority of identity theft victims spend at least seven hours resolving an incident. That’s seven working hours to resolve the problem, and likely additional productivity lost due to stress and distraction. This negatively impacts the employee, and in turn the organization as a whole.
Providing Identity Protection for Employees is a Win-Win
Providing proactive identity protection for employees has numerous benefits for employees and the organizations they support. Improved employee morale, productivity, recruiting capabilities and retention are only a few examples.
Employees who are spared the emotional and financial damage of identity theft are able to bring their “A” game!
Identity theft hurts employees and a business’s bottom line. While no one can prevent identity theft, early detection and remediation can help mitigate the impact on individual lives and business performance. Offering identity protection as an employee benefit is a win-win; by helping employees protect themselves, you can create a culture of security and prevent lost productivity.
ID Agent offers cost-effective solutions to protect your employees. Call us today to discuss a customized solution that works for your business.