Bonus repayment question

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dukebound85, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    All, I have found myself in a situation where I need some clarification.

    I had recently graduated with my MS in atmos science. Additionally, I had more recently taken a job with a firm where my MS did not apply. I have found a job that does make use of my degree and where I would feel happier (current job is 100hrs a week and most of my off time is not even at home but in a hotel)

    With that said, the job I am in now gave me a sign on bonus and moving amt. The sign on bonus was taxed before being given (ie it was 5k and i netted 3k or so). The moving allowance was also such that they gave me a lump sum (1000 and then took taxes out of future earnings, ie as if I netted 1600 or so and received 1000)

    If I leave early, I have to pay back the bonus and moving allowance. My question is what amounts?

    1) Would I have to pay back 5k in bonus and 1k in moving?
    2) Would I have to pay what I netted? ie the 3k in the bonus after tax and the 1 k in moving?
    3) If it is option 1, would it then be taken out of my w2 as earnings, effectively receiving the tax refund of 2k extra at the end of the year?

    Or am I off base somehow?

    Someone in HR or encountered similar situations have any guidance?

  2. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    The terms have got to be covered in your offer letter or employee handbook somewhere. I'm sure it varies by company.
  3. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    He's not asking a company policy question, but a tax question. Does returning the post tax money also undo taxes already paid? I'm no expert but I wouldn't return more than I was paid.
  4. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    You'd need to consult with a Tax professional in your state, but here is my best guess:

    You'd have to pay the $5,000 and $1,000. The taxes would be up to you to get back from the government if thats allowed. Again, I am guessing here.
  5. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    This is correct. You'll file an amended return if it was last year or you'll have to suck it up until tax time if it was this year.
  6. puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    How long do you have to stay until you no longer need to repay those bonuses back?
  7. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    When did they pay you these sums? If it's at all recent then there's at least a possibility that your tax payment that they withheld hasn't been sent to the IRS yet. If that's the case then you might be able to return the cash you received and they'll just cancel the whole transaction
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    You definitely need to get yourself in with a tax professional but it has been said that you do need to return the full amount paid pre-tax. I too want to know how long they required you to stay with them before you left. I worked for a company who required 18 months of service following the disbursement of any tuition payment unless termination of employment was the result of a layoff. The clock reset every time I received tuition reimbursement.
  9. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    2 years

    Thanks for the replies thus far everyone
  10. Kurwenal macrumors 6502a


    Jun 27, 2012
    This is not legal advice. You should consult a tax professional.

    Unless your contract specifies otherwise, you have to return the full amounts (pre-tax) of the bonuses. But, then, those bonuses will not be included in your W2, which means that if you paid excess taxes based on your lower compensation amounts (which seems possible but depends on your tax situation overall), you will get the taxes back from the government, not your employer.

    If this straddles a tax year, you will need to ask your employer for an amended W2 for the prior year and then file an amended return.

    Note that there are specific tax provisions that apply to things like relocation expenses and bonuses (that's why the two bonuses are taxed differently) and so you really do need to go talk to a tax accountant for 30 minutes. Or, if your company is large enough, they may have someone in-house who can advise you.

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