my former employer states that they overpaid me

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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my former employer states that they overpaid me

My former employer states that they overpaid me 8 months ago. They’ve now just informed me in a letter. I’m not a citizen and I don’t live in the U.S. anymore. How do they know and calculated the overtime money? Why do they require the tax too? Who will pay me back the tax if I pay that for my employer? What if I can’t pay the full amount of money pay back? I didn’t realized that they overpaid me.

Asked on July 26, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) How do they know: they should have your hourly time records (e.g. time cards or time sheets) and presumably re-examined them, seeing that you were paid more than you should have been.
2) It doesn't matter that you did not realize that you were overpaid. You are not being accused of wrongdoing, but even without wrongdoing, the law is very clear that someone else's (e.g. the employer's) error does NOT entitle you to keep more money than you actually earned. If you were overpaid, you must repay it.
3) You have to repay the whole amount because they paid out the whole amount, either to you or to the IRS and/or state tax agency in terms of withholding. They are entitled to all their money back.
4) When you return everything, you have any overpayment on your taxes, from the withholding they paid but which you returned; therefore, you will get a credit for this on your taxes (for having had more paid in taxes for you than should have been) and will get the money back (either by paying less in taxes at years end, if you still owed something; or getting a tax refund) when file your taxes.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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