The University of Illinois failed to withhold taxes for hundreds of graduate assistants over seven years, resulting in thousands of dollars in back taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The payroll “glitch” also means some graduate assistants will go without pay for the next few months to cover taxes owed on their tuition and service fee waivers. About 280 graduate assistants will be taxed for part of their 2011 tuition waivers starting this month, and 17 who owe more than their next few paychecks will get no pay for three months, officials said.
Seven years. Hopefully some of the grad assistants have some money saved but it sounds like more than a few of them will be having a helluva time with this. The Graduate Employees’ Organization director of communication, Natalie Uhl gets serious:
“For some of them, they have absolutely no way to pay rent next month, no way to buy food,” she said. Some students are planning to drop out of school, Uhl said. “They’ll essentially be paying to work for the school,” she said. “They’ll be receiving no money for the work that they do.”
Jesus. That’s worse than working for minimum wage at an accounting firm! The University, for their whole role in this, is saying “my bad” but rationalizes the lack of paying the GAs by keeping things no nonsense. This is the IRS we’re talking about, after all. They’ve got guns!
“We feel bad about the inconvenience. We understand that the additional withholding may create a hardship, and it’s unfortunate. We’re required by the law to take the withholding,” [UI spokesman Thomas Hardy] said.