Bad news for Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office employees right before the holidays.
Today, they learned that the because of problems with how their salaries were reported to the IRS, they actually owe the government money. Bossier Sheriff Larry Deen says a computer formula error has been discovered in the department's payroll system.
This error caused not enough state and federal taxes to be withheld from employees pay checks. Early estimates indicate the financial impact on the department will be approximately $689,000. Some employees owe as much as $1,000.
KTBS 3 News has learned that the employees were told in a meeting today that they have to two options for repayment.
Employees can reimburse the government in one lump sum by December 5, or have the make installments payments. Those payments will come with a penalty attached.
What terrible news right before the holidays.
Somebody needs to get fired and somebody needs to make this right.
Update: And from The Times? No raises either! Bah, Humbug!:
“We have already made changes to the payroll system and made payroll adjustments for employees that will not cause any extra expense to the taxpayers of Bossier Parish. This is a very unfortunate mistake that means there will not be any Bossier Sheriff’s Department pay raises for 2012. This is being done in order to offset the financial impact to the department and taxpayers,” said Deen.
Update 2: This from The Bossier Press:
The error was programmed in a decade ago, but the office will only be responsible for making payments in 2008, 2009, and 2010 due to the IRS only being able to pull records for the past three years.
This totals an approximate amount of $689,000 to be paid.
The office stressed no law has been violated, pointing out the error went unnoticed by state auditors for years.
Sheriff's Office employees are to pay 10 percent to the pension system. The error was, essentially, the under withholdings were read as tax deferred income instead of taxable wage.
The mistake was found by a department accountant who studied her own payment slips.
And please check the comments; from Anon 1:33:
The "installment plan" is taking a 2% pay cut for the next 12 months. For many who can't pay the lump sum with 10 days notice, this is the only other option. The bad news is a 2% pay cut has almost doubled what some employees have to pay back. A fairly new deputy who hired on at $45,000.00 a year owes $600. 2% of 45,000.00 is $900.00. How is that even close to right? And it's "too time consuming" to adjust each employees salary to reflect their lump sum so 2% across the board is all you get.
Good grief. I'll be following this and updated as more develops, and I'm sure more will develop. While it sounds innocent enough, I have a nagging suspicion that there is more here than meets the eye. An investigation is definitely in order.
My Bossier is following this, too. He has some interesting comments as well.
Keep checking back.