Can an employer deduct fuel reimbursement from your gross wages?

I worked as an Emergency Roadside Technician using my own vehicle. I was paid $14 per call completed and responsible for my own fuel and vehicle maintenance. The employer had me turn in my fuel receipts every week and would then deduct them from my gross pay so if for example I had completed 10 calls that week I would have made $140 in gross pay...if I turned in $70 worth of gas receipts, the employer then said I was reimbursed for $70 worth of gas on my check and my taxable earnings were $70. To me he was limiting his tax liabilites by reporting my wages as less than what I was really making. Is my thought process wrong? I was terminated shortly after complaining that this method was not kosher.

2 answers  |  asked May 15, 2011 8:44 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (2)

Neil Klingshirn
The IRS would be interested in the $70 that the employer paid you for fuel reimbursement, since the effect of reimbursing you for fuel is the same as paying you under the table. Once you submit your complaint to the IRS, it should conduct an investigation and take appropriate action.

Less clear is whether you have a claim for retaliation based on complaining about the payment practice. I suggest that you contact the National Whistleblower's Institute. Ask for Richard Renner,

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  May 18, 2011 11:03 AM [EST]
David Neel
Generally no they can't. There could be minimum wage issues too. You should contact an employment lawyer ASAP.

posted by David Neel  |  May 16, 2011 04:03 AM [EST]

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