Letter: Telework expansion depends tax removal

Regarding "House approves bill to expand telework": The Telework Improvements Act can be fully effective in expanding telework opportunities for federal employees only if a powerful deterrent to telework is removed: the telecommuter tax.

As things stand now, states can tax nonresidents who sometimes telecommute to their in-state employers on 100 percent of their income, including both the income they earn when they travel to the office and the income they earn when they work from home – in a different state. Because the home state can also tax the income earned at home, employees considering telework risk a tax bill from two states on the same income. For many Americans, the threat of double taxation makes the availability of a telework program a hollow option.

Bi-partisan legislation is pending in both Houses of Congress that would eliminate the harsh penalty for interstate telecommuting, prohibiting states from taxing nonresidents on the income they earn at home. If Congress wants to maximize the use of telework in the federal workforce, this measure — called the Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act — must be included in any version of the Telework Improvements Act the two Houses ultimately approve.

Nicole Belson Goluboff, Esq.

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