Uber pays New Jersey $100 mln in back taxes over driver employment status – NYT

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Uber Technologies Inc has paid New Jersey $100 million in back taxes over misclassification of drivers as contractors, the New York Times reported on Monday. (https://nyti.ms/3B7WQSt)

Uber, however, said it did not agree with New Jersey that drivers were “employees” and that it only paid a fraction of what the state originally demanded in its audit, which was over $1 billion. The statement did not reveal the payment amount.

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“Drivers in New Jersey and nationally are independent contractors who work when and where they want… We look forward to working with policymakers to deliver benefits while preserving the flexibility drivers want,” an Uber spokesperson told Reuters.

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New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development had fined Uber and its subsidiary Raiser in 2019 over unpaid unemployment taxes for the years 2014-2018 due to driver misclassification, which the company disputed.

The state’s labor department has now said its initial audit was an estimate made without Uber’s cooperation, according to the NYT.

A subsequent audit, relying on worker payroll data supplied by Uber, assessed that Uber and its unit owed a combined $100 million in back taxes, penalties and interest, the report added.

New Jersey said that it saw the settlement as an indication that these workers in the state were “presumed to be employees,” according to the report. Uber said that payment was not part of “a settlement.”

“Our efforts to combat worker misclassification in New Jersey are continuing to move forward,” the report said, quoting Robert Asaro-Angelo, the labor department’s commissioner, as saying. (Reporting by Lavanya Ahire, Shubhendu Deshmukh and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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