Tech Companies' Free Lunches Draw IRS's Attention

Free meals may be a "perk" that's taxable by the IRS.

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    There is no such thing as a free lunch, if you're the Internal Revenue Service.

    The IRS is considering whether the free meals doled out to employees at tech companies and other Silicon Valley firms hungry for talent are a fringe benefit that should be taxed, according to reports.

    Meals "regularly provided by employers" are a taxable perk similar to the use of a company car, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    Google, Facebook, Twitter and many more companies that employ thousands of engineers and other software-skilled workers offer such bonuses like free meals at the campus cafeteria as draws for potential hires and also ways to keep workers on-site and -- hopefully -- more productive.

    Google might be hardest-hit by any IRS-fueled change related to meals: It serves 50,000 meals or more every day at 120 cafes across the globe, the newspaper reported.