Uber sends earnings statements to people who say they never worked for company

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Californians get tax bill for money from Uber they never made
Even though they've never driven for Uber a day in their life, some Californians are still receiving 1099s from Uber, reporting earnings they've never seen.

CAMPBELL, Calif. (KGO) -- For the second straight year, people who never worked for Uber are receiving tax statements from the company, listing their earnings from the ride share service. Here's what the IRS says you should do to untangle this mess.

William Bacon and his mom Laura Pello didn't know what to make of it.

Uber sent William a 1099 indicating he made just under $6,000 dollars working for the company.

"I never worked for them. Why would I get the 1099 if I've never worked for a company?" said Bacon.

RELATED: Bay Area workers receive 1099s from Uber, even though they've never driven a rideshare

His mom tried reaching out to Uber, but couldn't get a human being until she pretended to be an employee.

Still, she didn't get very far.

"I can't speak with her supervisor. And I can't speak with anyone in accounting," Pello said.

We first reported on this one year ago.

VIDEO: Man has to pay $3,000 in surprise taxes after EDD withholding mistake

Even though they opted in to have taxes withheld, unemployed Californians are getting big tax bills because the EDD skipped withholdings in the interest of getting checks out faster.

Aaron Vurek received a 1099 which calculated his wages with Uber at $36,000 dollars.

"How do I explain to the IRS that I wasn't working? How do I prove it? It's going to be hell," Vurek said.

The IRS tells 7 On Your Side people should request a new 1099 from Uber correcting the error.

But if that fails, file your return anyway listing only the income you earned.

"If you want to file that return and you can't get those forms and you want to get your return in, then file and only report the income that reflects your situation," Raphael Tulino of the IRS advised.

RELATED: CA couple battles EDD bureaucracy after finding $25,000 in stolen unemployment money

It's unclear how widespread this problem is, but it's big enough for Uber to have a page on its website specifically for people to report the problem.

7 on Your Side has not received any complaints about other companies sending out erroneous 1099s.

We reached out to the Uber numerous times, but the company did not respond.

Williams fears the erroneous 1099 he received could jeopardize his unemployment benefits.

"If I'm getting unemployment, and I get something that's random in the mail, for someplace that I've never worked, I think they'll kind of look bad on that," he said.

So far William says he's found no evidence of people applying for credit in his name or other fraudulent financial activity. The IRS says there's no need to file an ID theft affidavit unless your e-filed return is rejected.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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