Tax form error causes problems for BYU student employees

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    By Heather Danforth

    BYU student employees may find their taxes a little more confusing this year because of a numbering error in BYU”s W-2 forms.

    While all necessary information is on the forms, box number 15 is missing. The state and state ID number that should be in box 15 are in box 16, and all boxes after 15 are one number higher than they should be.

    “We”re aware of the problem, and it”s unfortunate that it happened,” said John Gardner, director of regulatory accounting and reporting at BYU.

    The numbering error is stumping students filing by telephone, because they are asked for information by box number rather than by a description of the information.

    About 30,000 of the incorrectly numbered forms exist. The university will not print new forms, but plans to notify students of the numbering error on their next paycheck to minimize future confusion, said Brian Evans, BYU chief financial officer.

    “We can”t send out 30,000 more W-2”s,” said Randy Morgan, BYU payroll manager.

    Students who have already filed their taxes may have done so incorrectly, Evans said, but he doesn”t know the extent of the problem.

    Eileen Black, the mother of one current and two former BYU student employees, is concerned about the problems the numbering error may cause.

    “Students who are counting on those tax refunds will not get them,” Black said.

    She said BYU has not taken sufficient action to minimize the problem. She spoke with a BYU payroll office employee about the error and learned the office was fully aware of the problem, but “really didn”t seem to care,” she said.

    According to Gardner, if students file their tax returns incorrectly because of the numbering error, the returns will probably take longer to process and refunds will likely be delayed.

    If the IRS cannot determine the correct information, students may receive a letter asking for more information or a copy of the student”s W-2 form before taxes can be processed, Gardner said.

    If students do not respond to a letter from the IRS, they could be considered unresponsive taxpayers and might be subject to government action, Gardner said.

    “As long as they respond to the correspondence, there should be no problem,” he said.

    Elsie Jarvis of H&R Block Premium in Orem said that tax returns filed incorrectly because of an error on the W-2 form would be rejected and sent back.

    “It definitely would be something you would want to make your students aware of,” she said.

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