Uber Says It Just Noticed Error on Pay, but It Was No Secret

Uber said last week that it had recently discovered an accounting error that had deprived New York drivers of tens of millions of dollars, and vowed to pay back drivers every cent, with interest.

Now evidence has emerged suggesting that Uber and New York State regulators were aware of the improper deductions from drivers’ earnings as early as 2015.

The error involved Uber’s taking its commission on fares that included sales tax, rather than on the pretax portion of the fare. If, for instance, a passenger paid $20 for a ride, and if taxes accounted for roughly $2 of that fare, Uber took its commission on the entire $20, rather than on $18.

When admitting the error last week, Uber officials said they had discovered the problem only a few weeks earlier, as the company was updating its contract.

But changes that Uber made to its contract in 2015 suggest that the company has been aware of the issue and grappling with it since at least that year.

In an update to its contract in November 2014, Uber said that it would levy its commission on the pretax or “net” fare. If cities or other jurisdictions “require taxes to be imputed in the fare, Uber shall calculate the service fee based on the fare net of such taxes,” the contract stipulated.

In December 2015, however, Uber changed this portion of the contract, replacing the phrase “imputed in the fare” with the phrase “calculated on the fare.” The new wording, while ambiguous, lent itself more strongly to an interpretation that the fare did not include taxes.

That appeared to address the problem that Uber admitted to last week: computing a commission on a tax-inclusive fare. But whatever legal cover that might have provided, the company did not change its practices until now, continuing to base its commission on the full fare while telling passengers it included tax. (The company continued to remit the tax revenue to the state.)

Richard Emery, a plaintiffs’ lawyer who litigated a 2009 case with similar issues, said the change in the contract was “very powerful circumstantial evidence that they understood that their calculation of the commission was wrong.”

He added, “It seems clear that they were looking at it.”

Uber’s contract covers drivers not just in New York, but in all states where it operates. New York is one of the company’s biggest markets, and only a subset of cities and states where Uber operates imposes tax on its…

37,000 AT&T workers go on strike

(Reuters) – About 37,000 AT&T workers, or less than 14 percent of the company’s total workforce, began a three-day strike on Friday after failing to reach an agreement with the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier over new contracts.

This is the first time that AT&T wireless workers are on strike, which could result in closed retail stores during the weekend, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union. The workers on strike are members of the CWA.

The workers are demanding wage increases that cover rising healthcare costs, job security against outsourcing, affordable healthcare and a fair scheduling policy.

Slightly over half of the workers on…

Here’s What the Minimum Wage Really Adds Up to in Your State

Is the minimum wage in your state enough to cover the cost of living?

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Photo Credit: did you know?

It’s true. Here’s a chart from WageAdvocates.com based on the numbers from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator:

Yes, the folks at Wage Advocates have a clear agenda. They spend almost all of their time protecting and defending wage-earners. One would expect them to have an opinion on the matter.

For those who aren’t as into charts, in 2016, these were the 21 states that still used the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour. That ends up being about $15k a year before taxes. The number alongside each state is what wage workers actually need to make in order to afford its cost of living:

  • Alabama: $10.17
  • Georgia: $10.69
  • Idaho: $9.59
  • Indiana: $9.74
  • Iowa: $9.93
  • Kansas: $9.83
  • Kentucky: $9.71
  • Louisiana: $10.47
  • Mississippi: $9.95
  • New Hampshire: $11.43
  • North Carolina: $10.53
  • North Dakota: $9.79
  • Oklahoma:…

How “Carried Interest” May Affect Our Taxes

A lot has happened since now-president Donald Trump and candidate Hillary Clinton debated on October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. If you’re like most taxpayers, you probably don’t remember the candidates bantering about something called “carried interest.”

During the debate, Trump was asked what steps he’d take to make sure that the wealthiest of U.S. taxpayers pay a fair share of taxes. Trump responded by saying that he’d eliminate carried interest. What Trump actually meant, though, was that he would change the way carried interest is taxed. Clinton, too, supported making this change. And so did former president Barack Obama.

You can be forgiven if you have no idea what carried interest is. That’s because it’s something that only benefits the general partners who manage private equity and hedge funds. And most of us can’t invest in these private funds because it is so expensive to do so. Investors must usually pony up at least $250,000 to make an investment in one of these funds.

Carried interest is one way that the managers of these expensive hedge funds and private equity funds make a profit. But just because carried interest only benefits a select few, doesn’t mean that it’s not important to the U.S. economy. According to the Tax Foundation, if Congress taxed carried interest as ordinary income, it could cost the country 2,200 jobs. On the positive side, the Tax Foundation said that changing how carried interest is taxed would also generate about $15 billion during the next 10 years in the form of more taxes…