Posts in the ‘Telecomuting’ category

What is Telecommuting?

What is telecommuting? What is telework? Lately we have had a number of visitors searching for the answer to these questions and I realized that I haven’t answered them directly before, so here goes…

Telecommuting or telework is an arrangement where some or all of an employees tasks can be done at a location other than the designated central office or worksite.

Traditionally the home is generally used as the “other” location but it can be a hotel room, a customer site, a coffee shop, the back yard, or anywhere that the environment allows the employee to complete their tasks or projects.

Both terms “telecommute” and “telework” were coined in 1973 by Jack Nilles, a rocket scientist that became known as the father of telecommuting. Both words are now used interchangeably, but the original use of the term telecommute referred to the ability of telecommunications technology to eliminate the need to travel or commute physically to a central location.

Telework is made possible by technology, but it is the very human qualities and specific skillsets of the teleworker and the manager that make teleworking arrangements successful or not.

New York Provides No Relief to Overtaxed Teleworkers

In response to citizen outrage, New York made changes to it’s unfair and nonsensical telecommuter tax policy. However according to the Telework Coalition, the words may have changed but the impact is still the same: the vast majority of telecommuters will get no relief.

I first wrote about this topic back in November when the the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a teleworker that lived in Tennessee and telecommuted for a company in New York. Although he worked from his home 75% of the time and worked in the New York office 25% of the time, the state of New York wanted to tax him on 100% of his salary. Because the case went unheard, New York got its way.

At this point, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska have laws that allow them to squeeze telecommuters that work for companies within their boundaries even if the teleworker lives in other jurisdictions and never steps foot within the taxing state. Given the Supreme Court actions, or rather inaction, other states may be emboldened to balance their books on the backs of telecommuters as well.

Since New York has chosen to waste time with a PR move that does nothing to provide relief to the teleworker, it is time to take action. Contact your senators and representatives in Congress and ask them to support the The Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act (S. 1097, H.R. 2558).

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