Amtrak employees may be avoiding taxes

    An investigation by Philadelphia’s fiscal watchdog suggests there could be many Amtrak workers who are not paying the city’s wage tax that should be.

    An investigation by Philadelphia’s fiscal watchdog suggests there could be many Amtrak workers who are not paying the city’s wage tax that should be.

    City Controller Alan Butkovitz says his office wants to conduct a full-scale payroll audit of all Amtrak employees assigned to 30th Street Station. In a written statement, Amtrak officials say they are open to providing information, but they’ve asked the City Controller to delay an audit until early February 2010 because it would take time to coordinate.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091007lfamtrak.mp3]

    City Controller Alan Butkovitz says his office found that two Amtrak workers assigned to the 30th Street station have not paid city wage taxes for 2008 and 2009 for a total of about $9,000. Butkovitz says the workers incorrectly claimed they were exempt.

    Butkovitz: There’s a federal law that says that if you’re a railroad employee and you’re earning your money by traveling in other states, you’re exempted from paying wage taxes in that state. And in the case of the two workers that we found, they made that certification – actually they were uh security, police officers and the fact is that they were working in Philadelphia.

    Butkovitz says a preliminary analysis shows there may be a substantial number of Amtrak employees who are falsely claiming the city wage tax exemption.

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