Sherwood, AR asked in Tax Law for Arkansas

Q: Shouldn't the Army have to notify me of taxes owed on moving costs in order for me to make the choice beforehand?

I recently moved from Utah to Arkansas to take a job as a civilian with the US Army Corps of Engineers. I had the Army move my HHG. I just got a debt collection letter from the Army saying I owed taxes on the amount the Army paid the moving company to move me (about $4,700 in taxes). None of the papers I signed or any of the info that I received from the Army prior to the move mentioned that I would owe taxes on the moving expenses. Otherwise I would have moved myself. Shouldn't the Army have to inform me that I would owe taxes on moving costs paid by them in order for me to make the choice?

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2 Lawyer Answers
D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn
Answered
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Englewood, CO

A: No, there's no requirement for them to advise you.

Attorneys literally protect you from stuff like this.

Find one you like and pay them to give you advice.

The only thing more expensive than an attorney is not having an attorney.

Sorry that happened to you.

I'd definitely try to find someone to take a look at it. It's odd that the Army would send you a tax bill. They can't collect tax.

Best of luck.

Andrew M Steiger
Andrew M Steiger
Answered
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Grosse Pointe, MI

A: If the moving expenses are taxable fringe benefits, you would expect the cost of moving to show up in your W-2 as taxable income but I would not expect the employer to demand repayment of taxes unless the employer withheld taxes on your behalf and chose not to take the taxes out of your normal salary. The employer could pay those taxes for you and you might ask your HR to do so given the surprise large amount to you and the lack of communication on their part.

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