Saturday, February 3, 2007

Dearth of Taxes

The national Telework Coalition has renewed its efforts to get more tax equity for telecommuters who may or may not telecommute "at the convenience of their employer." The Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act would take that bit of language out of the tax law so that your employer need not have given away your office for you to not be taxed both in the state where your Real Office is, and your home office state as well.

New York State is the big offender, because it wants to tax all that income that's earned "in the state" by people who are VPN-ing into servers located in the state. They try to make the case that because people are telecommuting so they don't lose their sanity in the morass that is NYC traffic that it's not at the convenience of the employer, but the employee.

I'm skeptical. I think it's pretty gosh darn convenient for employers to be able to retain talented staff members by allowing them to work from home. It's an amazing benefit that doesn't cost much (or anything, depending on how you set up your program) to implement. And the effect telecommuting programs have on employee retention, particularly in high-traffic-density areas, is well documented.

It comes down to everybody getting their little payday. It seems like New York gets a significant economic benefit from having companies located there. How much money are they really losing to telecommuters anyway?

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