Hefty Back Tax Bill For Postal Workers

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SCRANTON -- Many employees of the U.S. Postal Service are getting quite a surprise right now: notices that they owe taxes that were supposed to be taken out of paychecks but weren't.

And now Scranton says pay up.

About 50 current and former postal employees have received those tax bills, many of them work at the mail processing center on Stafford Avenue in Scranton.

The Scranton Single Tax Office tells us that number may grow.

Postal employees, the United States Postal Service, and the tax collector all agree a mistake was made but, who is to blame?

Al Galka delivered mail in Scranton for decades. For the past 48 hours, he's been awfully worried about a piece of mail he received Friday at his home in Archbald.

"I almost died. After eight years they send me a bill from the city that I didn't pay the $52?"

There were a lot of $52 yearly charges on that bill he received from Scranton's Single Tax Office, plus some hefty interest charges dating back to 2006.

The grand total? $669 in unpaid local services taxes. It's also known as the emergency services tax.

Galka says he didn't know he never paid it.

"Like I said, who's to blame? The post office? The tax office? Maybe both. But somebody should have told me six, seven years ago and it would have been taken care of every year."

Officials from the single tax office say the United States Postal Service did not deduct the $52 a year tax for at least 50 Scranton-based employees but that number is growing.

The tax office discovered the mistake a few weeks ago.

When the American Postal Workers Union became aware we reached the local president over the phone.

"It's a sporadic event on a hit and miss basis. It's been taken out of my check and other employees checks but for some employees who work in the city of Scranton for the postal service haven't been having it deducted. So what we're doing is advising our members to check their pay stubs to make sure the tax is being taken out," said Kevin Gallagher, local president of American Postal Workers Union.

The United States Postal Service told Newswatch 16 it's on the employee to point out if their tax deductions are incorrect. The postal workers union disagrees; they've filed a grievance hoping to pay back the workers who got the hefty bill.

For now though, Al Galka and dozens of his former coworkers will have to pay up.

"It's a lot of money, $600 is a lot of money, anybody I guess. Millionaires, no. but for people like us, yeah."

The local president of the American Postal Workers Union who works out of this mail processing center said this may have happened to postal workers in other municipalities in our area and maybe in other states. He's requested a list of people who were affected.

For now, all the postal employees can do is pay close attention to their pay stubs and make sure the local services tax is taken out in one dollar increments each week.

30 comments

  • Awaiting approval

    How much college time do you need to deliver mail? I take it isn’t much when my carrier can’t even get the correct house even though the numbers on the box are 3×5 pretty reta rded if you ask me

  • Fed Up

    If Management would not treat employees so bad, maybe the clerks and employees would enjoy their job and be happier. The Union is a checks and balance to keep Management from treating employees so bad, which they do, thus the reason for the Union. Granted there are some thugs in the Union who are lazy and don’t do their job, but those employees are everywhere, including on some of these comments. I agree with Jay C, stop letting this Author fuel the fire while you add to the negativity and go find another job to complain about because there are many out there. Those people making 20-35.00 an hour have earned their wages over the years of working 20+ years. They certainly did not start out making 20.00 an hour. 20 or more years ago, degrees were not that important, times change, get over it. Find your passion, help solve problems with solutions rather than complaining, and stop tearing down Americans who have a job and work even if you think they are lazy. What about welfare.. get on that subject!

  • REA:LITY CHECK

    Hey Jay C —– Riddle me this, IF those highly skilled ( not ) charismatic ( not ) $35 to $50 an hour gang, you know the 20 to 40 year Veterans, lets just say now the 20 year gang, get sacked, or released cause of USPS going to far in the red, how much do you think they are gonna make per hour at their next job ?

    I will tell you, about $7 to $8 an hour to start, and they are gonna hustle WAY MORE than selling 2 stamps, and weighing 2 packages per hour in a slow branch/office

    Jay C do you think they can put on their application, “Oh I made $35 to $50 n hour at previous job” So do you think the reg job they are qualified for is gonna feel sorry and pay them that much again ? I think not !

    For Pete’s sake, these Clerks are making more than College Grads, with Bachelors Degree’s and some Masters’s
    They are LUCKY to have gotten in the USPS, but then have NOTHING to fall back on, if USPS goes under, welcome to your next minimum wage job ! Just speaking the truth, as currently, they might make as much or more than a College Grad, BUT rotten personality, and no marketable skills that warrant that obscene pay warrant $35 to $50 an hour outside of the LUCKY FEW who currently work at USPS

  • Sheila

    There are employer reports that are to be filed monthly or quarterly, come on now the blame seems pretty simple to figure out!

  • Retired Mailman

    Ever since the HR departments were eliminated, all these tax problems have come up. Local HRs used to comply with all local tax codes.

  • femail

    Wow, everyone is so focused on the salary. …Believe me…we earn every penny of it….you all have no clue what all comes with that pay….I’ll give you a clue…blown out backs, knees, hands, shoulders etc. …let’s hear about your knowledge on THAT ….factor in that while you are judging …..THAT’S why we earn what we do

    • WHATEVER CODDLED ONE

      So do the rest of us for $7 to $8 an hour at our jobs !

      You forgot to mention, most of you people can call off and off and off and NEVER get fired, cuz your all spoiled by the Union !
      Mail sorters earn their pay the most, but again some make $35 to $50 an hour NOT WORTH ! All they sort is JUNK MAIL

      USPS is OBSOLETE in 2014

      • Jay C

        Why are you sniveling over your salary? Who is to blame if it is low? Do you blame a postal worker for your salary? What have you done to get a higher paying job? Have you gone to your local 2 year college to increase your educational level? Have you gone to a technical school to gain skills for a better job? Have you applied for a postal job? It sounds like you are jealous that someone else is making more money than you. Look into the mirror to see who is to blame.

      • REALITY CHECK

        No I am not jealous, I am sick and tired of seeing lazy, mean clerks, old time clerks collecting obscene amounts of money for a lazy job, and no personality or people skills !

        I have to much of a conscience to apply for US Postal – It is a DEAD Entity, in the red, going nowhere faster than their Express Mail !

        The mailmen deliver JUNK MAIL JUNK MAIL JUNK MAIL ! People pay bills online

        Clerks, OVERPAID milking the USPS ( Already in the red ) for everything they can !

        USPS is self destructing from GREED, incompetence, and their Union who protects then for ineptness, etc.

        I have a brain, and the clerks in slow offices/branches who are long time employees 20+ years do NOT deserve the $35 to $50 an hour for selling a few stamps or weighing a package twice an hour !

        Most Clerks I have seen roll their eyes, if you have more than 1 or 2 things to mail, or if you ask them to tape your package or label it they are LAZY !!!!!!!!!!

        USPS in Serious Financial Trouble

        1. Show the door to ALL those over paid 20+ year Veterans raking it as it is in the red

        2. Make mailmen deliver 3 days a week, Mon, Wed, Fri save on fuel and on wasting money paying them to deliver flyers and junk mail 6 days a week

        3. End the RIDICULOUS pensions

        4. Hire all NEW workforce for $12 an hour and make $20 an hour the Cap if your a long time employee

        This MIGHT get postal back in black and out of the red !!!

      • Fed Up

        Where do you people get your facts? My spouse works for the Postal Service and doesn’t get near that amount per hour, not even close to 20.00 an hour after 25 yrs. If those 7.00 and 8.00 per hour folks work hard for their money too, good, everyone should work hard when they are paid by someone else. We choose our jobs, we have free will. If you don’t like what you make, find a job that pays more or create one. Stop stirring the pot on an article that is talking about how bad USPS employees are screwed with unpaid taxes that are not their fault.

  • DJ

    if it were me I would pay back 52 dollars a year for the necessary amount of years they def would not get it all at once

    • Jay C

      I’d fight about that interest. Look into small claims court. You can sue anyone in small claims court for just about anything. I would blame the city for failing to discover this in a timely manner and then attempting to extract a great deal of interest due do it’s own failure do it’s job.

    • Jonus Grumby

      They can afford it…here we go again. I’m sure you can afford to pay to fill up my gas tank one time. That’s not the point. The workers had no knowledge this was even going on and are being blind sided. Do they owe the tax? Yes. However given the circumstances there should be a grace period that allows it to be paid because of the over-site that was totally out of their control.

      • Jay C

        The City had the responsibility to discover this immediately. The fact the it is demanding interest for all the years that it failed to do it’s job is unheard of. I would sue the city in small claims court over the interest.

    • REALITY CHECK

      The REALITY is you Postal Clerks are GROSSLY overpaid for your skills !

      I have seen Clerks probably making $35 to $50 an hour to be a clerk, no personality, no courtesy, lazy as they do not even want to tape, or fill out any form for their customers !
      The Clerkss, they read books, do cross word puzzles, twiddle thumbs, wait on 2 people per hour in slow branches/offices and MILK the USPS for everything it is worth ! Then get a RIDICULOUS Pension when they retire, NO WONDER THEY ARE IN THE RED !!!!!!
      Postal needs reset ! Hire new force of people grateful to start out at $11 an hour and cap it at $20
      Sorry, but the people I have seen with their manners are NOT worth $35 to $50 an hour in my opinion

      • wild bill

        your way off on pay , no one is paid anything close to fifty dollars. carriers start at $15 and top out at 28 , clerks start at $13.50 and top out at 25 with the new contract.
        seems you just hate the post office

      • REALITY CHECK

        Oh Wild Bill, you mean it is just the old timers milking USPS now for $35 to $50 an hour ?

        Lets not forget Sunday Premium when they got $70 to $100 an hour

        OVER PAID ! INCOMPETENT ! UNDER SKILLED NOT WORTH $35 to $50 to be a Clerk !

        Mailmen ? Who needs them ? They are MILKING USPS also ! They work 6 days a week delivering NOTHING but JUNK MAIL !

        Nobody writes letters, or pays bills through snail mail ! USPS = DINOSAUR !

        USPS really is irrelevant in 2014

      • Jay C

        Stop wasting your time complaining about someone else’s job and look for a better job for yourself. Perhaps you would be happy if everyone made a low salary. If so, what good would it do you? Those who are dissatisfied with their salaries, owe it to themselves to prepare themselves to qualify for a better and higher paying job.

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      • slick rick

        I agree reality check! Most clerks I have encountered are pretty nasty individuals. Also Jay C stop repeating yourself! It is so obvious you or a family member work at USPS. Time to pay the piper!

    • Terry

      According to May 2011 data from The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics postal service mail carriers earned an average yearly salary of $51,390. Add to this a generous benefit and retirement package. Not bad for matching the numbers on a letter with the numbers on a mailbox.

    • Jay C

      Stop wasting your time complaining about someone else’s job and look for a better job for yourself. Perhaps you would be happy if everyone made a low salary. If so, what good would it do you? Those who are dissatisfied with their salaries, owe it to themselves to prepare themselves to qualify for a better and higher paying job.

    • Jay C

      Why do you complain about someone else? If you don’t like your job, do whatever you have to to get a better one. Why do you want everyone to make a small salary? How will that help you? Help yourself and stop sniveling about others.

  • ABCDEFGHIJ

    The whole idea of taking $1 out a week is so you don’t mind the impact of it. Since the mistake was made, it should be corrected by beginning to take out $1 a week from now on. Everyone could pay back 100 times the amount they owe and it still wouldn’t solve Scranton’s budget problem.

  • Rebecca

    This is a line item deduction on your paycheck, just like all the other deductions. I can see missing a $2.00 biweekly deduction, but as an employee it’s up to you to verify you are receiving the correct compensation. Don’t just trust your employer to do it correctly. It doesn’t hurt to take a look every so often to see if anything has changed.

  • harshtimes

    take it up with your employer !!!! it aint scrantons fault….u guys. make the big bucks….quit WHINING

    • Jay C

      The City had the responsibility to alert the Post Office about this. How would an employee even know that the Post Office should have deducted it? Both the Post Office and City are to blame. For the City to wait 8 years and then demand interest is unforgivable. If I were an employee, I would determine if I could sue the City in Small Claims Court over it’s failure to make this claim before 8 years passed and then to demand interest for this amount of time. If so, I would suggest that each employee file a claim. Then, the City would have to spent a great deal of time in court. Perhaps it would drop it’s demand for this interest.

      • slick rick

        Oh the “poor” postal service workers! Would you be singing the same tune if it was employees making minimum wage??? I highly doubt it would even be in the news! I think these employees just wanted to see how long they were able to get away with it! Now it came back to bite them in The A$$! This tax is a line item in your pay stub…smh

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