Should Your Small Business Provide Cell Phones? The Answer Just Changed…

New IRS Small Business Cell Phone Rules

Editor’s Note:  This post is sponsored by Staples.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I think companies like Staples, that offer an expansive selection of cell phones, are in a great position to help small business owners who want to take advantage of recent a rule change from the IRS.

To make the tax code more simple and predictable for small business owners, the new law eliminates the onerous reporting requirements that used to be necessary whenever a small business provided a cell phone for employee use.

You can now write off the cost of small business cell phones for tax reporting purposes without having to substantiate business versus personal use. Previously, that required cumbersome recording keeping on the part of businesses and employees.

By the way, if you want to take advantage of these changes for this tax year – and it’s virtually always smart to front load your write offs as much as possible – a trip to the Staples cell phone department before year’s end would be smart. I should also add that timing new smart phones for your staff during the holidays is a great way to lift their spirits and show your appreciation. (Other tech purchases and upgrades boost employee loyalty and engagement as well; more on those in a moment.)

Aside from the new tax advantages there are other reasons to provide company smart phones for your team:

*  If you don’t, both you and your staff have a bigger record-keeping burden. That’s lost productivity.
*  Company cell phones eliminate various accounting headaches.
*  You can maintain continuity with business phone numbers. Do you really want clients calling your employee’s personal cell phone numbers? If you own the phone, you can own the number and keep it as your workforce evolves.
*  You have far better control over data security.
*  Upgrades and maintenance is easier for your IT department, which is often you in a small business.
*  You can define a set of apps you want your team to use and also have private apps created for your business.
*  You can be sure that cell phones are safely recycled.

The next hurdle for small business owners is to zero in on the best cell phones for their teams. This is where a trip to Staples can be extraordinarily helpful. If you survey cell phones at Staples, you’ll find virtually all the brands, all the operating systems, and phones that are compatible with all the carriers.


Whether you want an Android phone, iPhone or a Blackberry, you can browse a full lineup of gear from all the top manufacturers. You aren’t limited like you are when you get corralled by a sales rep at one of the major carriers.

For example, you could settle on one platform but at the same time know that you’ll have some heavy users and some lighter users. You could match employees to phones that have the features that best fit their usage.

And speaking of platforms, are your computers running Windows 10? If not, you need to upgrade. Microsoft made major strides with this release. It’s not merely a computer operating system, it’s a platform that will power virtually any kind of device and that means that universal apps will function everywhere – Windows computers, tablets and smart phones.

When you browse Staples to compare smart phones, consider Staples EasyTech™ services. Getting back to the issue of productivity again, using a service like this saves you a lot of trouble and can even lessen or eliminate your need for in-house tech services.
Hitting the cell phone counter and all the aisles of the latest tech gear at Staples will save you time and get your crew equipped with the best gear to get the job done in your small business.
(If you would like to see the details of the new IRS rules, they are posed here.)