In 2017, my wife's employer paid for our rent as per her contract. The employer added this to her monthly salary. She received a 1099 at the end of the year. I considered this money income when calculating our tax burden on TurboTax. Was I correct?
Generally yes. Income is not measured as "money" but as "value of benefits". So, avoiding money is not going to ease your tax burden.
There are exceptions (depending on jurisdiction). For example, if I send an employee to another city, then for a certain time (which may be long) the housing THERE may NOT count as income - it is basically an expense of my business on an extended delegation, but the employee does not get a benefit. I pay him housing, he pays housing at home he can not use. Obviously there are limits to this.