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AAUP Tax Alert: “UH Payroll Delay or Deferred Compensation?”

A few individuals have called UHPA concerning an article that appeared in a publication of the AAUP.  The article warned that if nine-month employees chose to have their salaries paid out over 12 months they may be incurring a tax liability by deferring salary from one year to the next.  Although faculty members on nine-month appointments do receive their salaries over 12 months they have no choice since this is required by the State of Hawaii (the Employer).  The Employer actually gains an advantage by delaying the salary owed to the nine-month appointment.  These faculty members are paid their salary for work that they provide from August to the following May.  If an individual would terminate his or her employment with UH at the end of the duty period (around May 15), they would still be receiving a check from the State of Hawaii through July.  Again, these faculty have not chosen to have this salary deferred but the State of Hawaii has imposed a payroll lag on these individuals.  Over the years, UHPA has made proposals that would pay the full salary to nine-month employees between August and May; however, the State Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) have not been interested in changing the annual payout, in part because the employee’s health insurance premiums are uniformly deducted over the 12-month period.