20160225_103254Thank you to everyone who came to our emergency meeting today on tax concerns for international RAs and TAs – we had a packed room from across Columbia representing GSAS, Engineering, Lamont, and CUMC, and, because of our extreme disappointment in the administration’s handling of this so far, many of us went to GSAS Dean Alonso’s office to demand that Columbia do a better job on addressing our concerns.

After many of us expressed concern in recent days, the Columbia administration has offered little support and clarity. Yesterday GSAS Dean Alonso sent some of us an email describing our IRS bills as a “transitory” issue and advised students that the administration was in the process of fixing this. A subsequent email from Human Resources advised us that we do not have to pay our bills. But with our bills due as soon as March 7th, they have yet to tell us when this will be resolved and the potential consequences for us as individuals if we ignore our payment deadline. At today’s meeting, numerous people discussed how you can call the IRS and request an extension if you have a current bill with a deadline, so that there is more time for us to try to get Columbia to address the problems. The number is 1-800-829-8374. If you have questions, feel free to email us and we will try to help, though we are not tax experts.

Our delegation to Dean Alonso today demanded that the administration:

  • Be more transparent on when the issue would be resolved
  • Ensure that the university would contact the IRS and secure an extension for all of us who are affected until these problems are clarified and resolved
  • Hire a CPA/tax expert to come to campus and help us understand and resolve our tax issues.

Dean Alonso told us he does not know when the issue would be resolved, would not commit to hiring a CPA, and was not even aware that we have not received our 2014 tax returns.

It is urgent that the university act now to fix their mishandling of these issues, but it is clear they will not act unless we continue to make clear how big this problem is. We will keep you up to date about other ways to get involved..

We will be having a follow up meeting on Tuesday, March 1st @ 11am, location TBA.