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Grad Assistants May Starve After University of Illinois ‘Payroll Glitch’ Results in Back Taxes Owed

The irony being that UI is consistently one of the top accounting programs in the country. The Champaign News-Gazette has the scoop:

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.

UI didn’t withhold taxes for hundreds of grad assistants [CNG]

Ohio County Auditor Discovers an Ongoing 30-Year Tax Mistake

After a massive flood in the Ohio county of Butler March 25, 1913, the Miami County Conservatory was formed to preserve the quality of Great Miami River water. This mission, hammered out in 1914, allowed for a tax against Butler County residents but apparently when this tax was raised in 1976, it didn’t actually go in front of Butler County votes like it was supposed to.

Which means $4 million in taxes has been collected since then ($252,793.74 in 2009) and somehow no one noticed until now.

Via the Oxford Press (OH):

Following an internal review and opinion from the Ohio Department of Tax Equalization, Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds is removing the tax from the 2010 bill.

“I am proud of my office for this discovery, and for instituting our plan for stronger internal controls on behalf of the citizens of Butler County,” Reynolds said in a press release. “Our role as government leaders must be to protect taxpayers’ money, and to safeguard against waste and error.”

The tax is allowable according to Ohio law. A 1914 statute states taxes for a conservancy district can be collected up to 10 mills, but anything greater must have voter approval.

The funny part is that according to Miami Conservatory District PR, the county is only obligated to pay $207,982 a year to the conservatory. So they really over-collected.

This county auditor is the same who caught another tax boo-boo in early 2010 in which a $1.46 assessment was wrongly collected from every parcel of land in the county for a grand total of $2.3 million.

And you guys wonder why tax protesters do what they do.