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I'm trying to keep detailed books for my personal finances. One thing I haven't figured out how to represent is various non-monetary taxable benefits that I get at work. For example, a gift or a meal.

These count as "taxable income" at the end of the year (in my tax jurisdiction; I know it's not the case everywhere), so I'd like to actually track them in my double-entry bookkeeping system.

So when my employer tells me that something was worth X dollars, I can say that I got X dollars from an account like "Income:Benefits"... but where do I credit that money to? "Expenses:Groceries" or "Expenses:Restaurants" (as an example in the case of meals) doesn't feel right, since I never actually spent that money on food, and it messes up the tracking of my actual food expenditures. Even putting it in a new "Expenses:Benefits" account seems weird, and gives a misleading picture of how much I'm spending.

I'm guessing there's an established convention for this already? Any sources I could read up on to get ideas for this and similar practical questions that come up when bookkeeping?

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I can say that I got X dollars from an account like "Income:Benefits"... but where do I credit that money to? "Expenses:Groceries"

Yes

doesn't feel right, since I never actually spent that money on food,

You did, didn't you? You got food.

I'm guessing there's an established convention for this already?

Doubt it. Established conventions in accounting are for businesses, and more specifically - public companies. So you can find a GAAP, or IFRS guidelines on how to book benefits (hint: salary expense), but it is not something you may find useful in your own household accounting.

Do what is most convenient for you. Since it is a double-booking system - you need to have an account on the other side. Expenses:Groceries doesn't feel right? Add Expenses:Groceries:Benefits or Expenses:Benefits or whatever. When you do your expense and cash-flow reports - you can exclude both the income and the expense benefits accounts if you track them separately, so that they don't affect your tracking of the "real" expenses.

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