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Officers paying taxes on issued uniforms? What's next!!


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  • Officers paying taxes on issued uniforms? What's next!!


    IRS audit reveals Bristol Virginia under collected

    By David Mcgee
    Published: March 25, 2011
    » 9 Comments | Post a Comment
    BRISTOL, Va. --

    Tax bill for Bristol, Va.

    Employee clothing items $5,017

    Vehicle use $803

    Cell phone $139

    Penalty $1,191

    Total $7,150

    An Internal Revenue Service audit has revealed issues with some city policies, resulting in a tax bill of $7,150.

    During the February audit, agency investigators identified three areas where the city should have taken out additional taxes for clothing items, including shoes, boots, T-shirts, uniform pants, jackets and belts provided to fire, police and part-time parks & recreation department employees, because those items could also be worn for personal use.

    The federal agency also took issue with how a former city employee documented use of a cell phone and a Police Department employee who was driving a city-owned Pontiac Firebird home at night.

    The city was charged about $100 in additional taxes on the cell phone, about $800 for the vehicle and about $5,000 for clothing.

    “This has been a learning experience,” City Manager Dewey Cashwell said. “I’ve talked to my friends all over Virginia and not one of them has ever been audited. But we’ll be in compliance now that we’re better educated.”

    IRS agents told the city it was randomly selected for the audit, Cashwell said.

    IRS spokesman Jim Dupree wrote in an email that the agency doesn’t comment on specific cases or “comment on any real examples, hypothetical examples or suppositions regarding a taxpayer or taxpayers.”

    The agency’s Office of Federal, State and Local Governments is responsible for ensuring compliance at all levels of government.

    On Wednesday afternoon, city department heads participated in a training course about IRS policies.

    The audit identified more than $12,000 worth of items deemed taxable and assessed Social Security, Medicare and income taxes on those, plus a penalty of nearly $1,200 -- all paid by the city.

    Cashwell said he argued that uniform items -- which employees are issued and required to wear while working -- should not have been included.

    “One of the things that is aggravating is a clip-on tie,” Cashwell said. “Some of the sheriff’s department folks wear clip-on ties for a reason -- so they won’t get choked to death by somebody they’re dealing with. It is part of the uniform. But they [IRS] decided they could wear those ties to church on Sunday, too. Here’s the IRS getting to the point of checking your shoes and belt and your ties as a public employee. These folks have to have these things to do what they do, and they wear them out. It seemed a bit silly to me.”

    Until now, the city’s practice has been to provide such items to employees when old ones wear out, city Chief Financial Officer Steve Allen said.

    “I’m still of the opinion if they’re [employees] required to turn it back in, it’s not theirs to pay taxes on,” Allen said.

    To comply in the future, city officials will likely include a taxed clothing allowance on employee paychecks and make it the workers’ responsibility to acquire the clothing items, Cashwell said.

    “To the extent we can provide articles that are not taxable, we will do that. If the IRS determines an item of clothing is potentially usable off-duty, then they’ll be taxed. We’ll do what we can to make sure the impact on our employees is minimal,” Cashwell said. “We’ve just got to make sure we’re in compliance with the law.”

    For example, uniform pants worn by police officers aren’t taxable because they have a stripe on the leg, while firefighter pants are taxable because there is no stripe, Cashwell said.

    To arrive at its figures, the IRS compiled a list of the items issued and prices based on information provided by four vendors used by the city, Allen said.

    “We buy a parks & rec T-shirt for these kids who work seasonal, who are out there mowing or lifeguarding. They say parks & rec and are a specific color. They [IRS] want to tax that person,” Allen said. “To the letter of the law, I guess we should. But, to me, it’s not worth it to tax it because it costs more than its worth. Quite literally, we could go to the employees and say they’ve got to pay this tax. But the employees had no idea.”

    As a result of the audit, crime prevention specialist Nicole Slagle no longer drives the Firebird home or for anything other than official business, Cashwell said. That was an issue because she isn’t a sworn police officer, as they are allowed to drive city-owned police cruisers home for quicker response time to emergency situations.

    The issue with that specific cell phone was a lack of documented usage for expressly city purposes.

    “In the case of the vehicle, it makes sense. It’s something you’re providing that everybody else doesn’t get. It is not strictly required,” Cashwell said. “In the case of the cell phone, I understand that, too. I get taxed on my car allowance and my cell phone allowance. If you can demonstrate the usage was just for the city’s purposes, it’s not taxable. The only reason we pay for these folks to have cell phones is so we can reach them and they can reach us.”

    The city issues about 40 cell phones to department heads and supervisors who are subject to be called at any time, the city manager said.

    [email protected]
    (276) 645-2532

    A random audit, yeah right. Ok, if that's the law, then alright. Is every other agency in this country held to this standard? I really don't think that is the case. Correct me if I'm wrong. Some of what they found I agree with, but the uniforms, that is ridicules.
    Proudly generated over a hundred thousand dollars in attorney's fees and counting

  • #2
    In Europe officers get taxed on the cost of parking.
    Any views or opinions presented by this prenomen are solely those of a burlesque author and do not necessarily represent those of a LEA or caementum couturier.

    nom de plume

    This is the internet- take all information with a grain of salt. Such could be valid and true or could be typed just for playing devils advocate.


    • #3
      The Agency needs to argue officer safety and put a policy in place "for safety" that prevents wearing of issued uniforms off duty.
      Last edited by ryker; 03-29-2012, 08:46 AM.
      Any views or opinions presented by this prenomen are solely those of a burlesque author and do not necessarily represent those of a LEA or caementum couturier.

      nom de plume

      This is the internet- take all information with a grain of salt. Such could be valid and true or could be typed just for playing devils advocate.


      • #4
        Some states have developed a system where take home vehicles are considered a benefit and the income added via a 1099. Same thing the great community organizer wants to do with health care.


        • #5
          IRS agents told the city it was randomly selected for the audit, Cashwell said.
          I seriously doubt that statement. Someone in the city ticked off an agent who made the random selection!
          Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

          [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


          • #6
            I buy my own uniforms and have to pay sales tax on them.... So I get double burned. Cheap POS city I work for.


            • #7
              gotta pay for that "free healthcare"
              "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
              The Tick

              "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"

              "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
              Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief


              • #8
                Holy crap dlo is an IRS agent.
                Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."


                • #9
                  Hmmm...my accountant gets me a small write-off every year for any money I spend on "uniforms & protective apparel". Usually between $350.00 to $500.00 a year.

                  Something here is not right. Is it only because they think the uniform bits might be used off duty? If so, our agency policy is 'absolutely no personal use', so maybe that's the kicker.
                  The opinions expressed here are from the individual only and do not represent the view of any agency that the poster may be affiliated with


                  • #10
                    I believe the rule is that the cost of any uniform item that would identify you as a LEO is deductible. So black shoes or boots generally are not. Uniform shirts, blouses, coats with agency patches are.


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