After asking why my pay was more than 3 weeks behind and they threatened to cut my hours. When I said this was unfair, they threatened to cut my pay rate as well. I told them that I would no longer perform any work until my pay was brought up to date. My employment agreement clearly states that pay will be delivered every 2 weeks, but in the year and a half I have worked for them it has been consistently late. They currently owe me for 4 pay periods.
My employer withholds federal and state taxes but I have never received pay stubs from them. The W-2 I rec'd was rife with errors and I have no idea if the withholding totals are right (in fact I know they're not, since the total earned is wrong). They've withheld more than they've claimed and pocketed the difference. What can I do?For clarification's sake: I am not only pursuing the tax issues because I've been fired. I've been hounding them to fix the problems with my W-2 since the day I received it, but have been ignored/blown off. The total earned is understated, the amounts withheld do not add up to the total amount taken out of my checks, and the State Tax information was hand-written on all 3 copies with the State Tax ID Number missing. They told me to say it was "applied for" and refused to address the other concerns to the point that I had to file for an extension on my taxes and still have not completed them.
The question was can someone pursue a former employer for wrongful termination and possible tax fraud? The relevant details were that the employees pay was 3-4 weeks late, and that withholding was obviously inaccurate and poorly accounted. Well ...
Wrongful Termination - This is an area that my colleague handles, so my knowledge is limited. But I know this much. Before there is any analysis toward whether you have a potential actionable claim (ie: winnable lawsuit), you have to determine whether you have a right to that particular employment. Under these facts, if you are employed with a private company, and if NC is an "at-will-employment" state, there's probably no such a right to that employment. No right to the job -- then no right to wrongful termination from that job. But you do have a valid claim to be paid your unpaid wages.
Tax Fraud - So if your withheld taxes were under-reported (or underpaid), you cannot pursue for tax fraud. You don't really have right to do that -- the government does that. You do, however, have the right to ask the government to enforce the correct accounting (and payment) of all amounts withheld from your pay. But you must be certain that you can prove what are the actual amounts withheld, in comparison with what was reported. Know this -- the tax authorities (ie: IRS, state, etc) will not act upon your hunches, but instead from your well-documented evidence. So be ready with your documents before you write that letter.
Attorney (Former IRS)
You may contact Attorney Jeff Collins directly at [email protected], or 866-340-5055, for more specific answers. This forum is merely for open, public discussion. Discussions in this open, online forum are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE NOTICE: IRS Circular 230 regulates written communications about federal tax matters between tax advisors and their clients. To the extent the preceding correspondence and/or any attachment is a written tax advice communication, it is not a full “covered opinion”. Accordingly, this advice is not intended and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the IRS regarding the transaction or matters discussed herein. Each taxpayer should seek advice from an independent tax advisor with respect to any Federal tax issues, transactions or matters addressed, discussed or referenced herein based upon his, her or its particular circumstances.
Have you filed your 2011 tax returns, yet? If not, did you filed for an extension? I would recommend you consult an employment discrimination attorney in Charlotte to discuss these matters. I would also suggest that you contact the IRS Tax Advocate in Greensboro. See the link provided. Also, the North Carolina Department of Revenue has a taxpayer service center in Charlotte. See link provided. These links should provide you with a good start towards getting this matter resolved to some extent.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Do NOT rely on anything I have written here -- You should contact a lawyer in your area immediately after reading my posting. The following disclosure is required pursuant to IRS Circular 230: unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
If you were retaliated against because you complained about possible wage and hour violations, then you probably have a claim for wrongful firing. I highly recommend that you contact an experienced North Carolina employment attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation.
I cannot answer the tax question as I focus my practice on employment law.
Kirk J. Angel is an experienced North Carolina licensed attorney who focuses his practice on employment law. Mr. Angel, who has focused on employment law for more than 14 years, represents clients throughout North Carolina and more information about him is available at www.theangellawfirm.com This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer in your state who practices in the appropriate area.
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