Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your human resources questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world's largest HR professional society and author of "Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”
The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor's answers below have been edited for length and clarity.
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Question: I recently moved to a new state but now work remotely for a company based in my former state. My local taxes are still paid to the former state. Is this correct? Should I request any adjustments? Am I responsible for any mistakes my employer might make concerning taxation? – Denise
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: I appreciate you reaching out about this timely topic. Many employers and employees underestimate the tax implications of remote work. With the massive shift to remote and hybrid work, many people are reconsidering many life choices, including where they live. Not surprisingly, this virtual migration is pushing implications like tax withholding to the forefront. Employers faced with myriad shifting workplace realities are hard-pressed to keep up with some of these taxation complications.
While I can’t speak to the specific details of your circumstances, it seems likely your employer will need to adjust your tax withholding, especially if you have moved to a state different than the one you’ve previously lived and worked in. What adjustments need to be made will depend chiefly on state and local tax laws governing your new residence.
State and local taxes apply to an employee’s state of residence and the state where the employee works. For full-time work-from-home employees, it is typically the same state. So, employees working from home in a state different than their original workplace are subject to the corresponding tax liabilities of that home state and locality.
In the future, should you perform work on-site with your employer you could again be subject to tax liability in the employers’ state. States vary significantly in thresholds requiring taxation of nonresidents. Your tax liability could be triggered by the amount of time worked or income earned in a state.
Speak with human resources about your move. Always make sure they have the most recent information regarding your residency. Verify your employer is reevaluating and making necessary adjustments to your tax withholding.
Your employer should initiate a tax compliance review as they are made aware of a remote employee’s new location. They should also review state and local tax laws as they apply. In addition, I encourage you to follow up with a certified taxation professional who is familiar with your new state and local taxation regulations.
While it is the employer's responsibility to apply tax law correctly, any missteps they make will ultimately impact you financially. So be sure to verify, validate and follow up on any action taken to ensure the proper result. Congratulations on the move and good luck.
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Q: I recently had to take leave to respond to a subpoena. Can my employer force me to apply for vacation time for the time off? – Kelly
Taylor: The short answer is yes, your employer can require you to apply your vacation time to comply with a court order. However, it is not necessarily the best course of action for a number of reasons. For starters, it penalizes the employee for complying with civic duty.
Typically, employers should support workers' efforts to accommodate court orders. Though they aren’t obligated to, many employers not only allow for time off they also offer paid time off in these situations.
Verify your employer’s decision is consistent with their written policy and procedure. If you are still uncertain, reach out to your human resources department for clarification.
Generally, paid time off for a court appearance can range from a few days to weeks at a time. Employers will usually request documentation of the subpoena before approving your leave and corresponding pay.
Keep in mind, many states have laws to regulate witness and/or victim leave for court attendance. So, your employer’s standing policy in this situation may depend on such regulations.
Additionally, if you are a salaried employee you would have some protection under federal statutes. Under federal law, employers are not allowed to reduce salaried workers’ earnings due to partial workweek absences based on court appearances.
Again, review your employer’s policy to confirm your options and check with HR to answer any unresolved questions. I wish you the best possible outcome.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Working and living in different states? How do tax withholdings work?