Today State Assemblywoman and Chair of the New York Higher Education Committee Deborah Glick, State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, State Senator Bill Perkins, and Councilman Mark Levine signed onto a letter citing Columbia’s negligence in handling the international student IRS bills and urging the administration to provide assistance to resolve this issue #ColumbiaCanDoBetter
We understand that as a result of Columbia University misreporting tax withholding information for international research and teaching assistants, many of these RAs and TAs have now received notices from the IRS to pay refunds – ranging up to thousands of dollars – on a very short timeline. We further understand that these RAs and TAs are deeply concerned because the University has advised some of them “not to pay” as Columbia attempts to address the problem, even though some of these individuals’ IRS deadlines are as early as March 7.
We are concerned about the University’s misreporting and its subsequent handling of the situation. If the University has a sound legal basis for advising RAs and TAs to ignore communications from the IRS, we urge you to immediately clarify that to all who are affected by the University’s reporting error and provide assurance from the IRS that RAs and TAs will not be held liable for this problem created by the University. We also urge you to be responsive to the related requests made by these RAs and TAs.
The University’s negligence on this matter has distracted these RAs and TAs from focusing on the critical work of teaching undergraduates and carrying out innovative research that makes Columbia one of our state’s prized institutions. Please act as quickly as possible to address the concerns raised by these employees and keep us apprised of progress.