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I'm leaving my company (in the US, IL) before one year cycle. And I have to return the $5000 relocation lump sum that I received (I actually received only $3000 after tax), under the condition that if I leave voluntary, I have to return it.

The language says: Should you choose to end your employment with XXX prior to completing 12 months of service in this new position, you will be responsible for reimbursing.

Two questions:

1- Should I return $3000 (after tax), or $5000 (before tax)?

2- At one point upon group change, my manager actually told me "You have your green card, and can leave the company if you don't like it". So I'm not really leaving "voluntary". Can I negotiate that and avoid repayments?!

Advice from anyone familiar with this would definitely help.

UPDATE: After I talked to the HR guy at my exit interview and tried negotiating, they said they just forfeit my last pay check ($4200 before tax, $2850 after tax and benefits), in place of $5K bonus repayments (before tax) + 13 hrs of PTO owing (=$750)! They said that saved me around $1300. I think it was a good thing for me.

  • "You have your green card, and can leave the company if you don't like it". So I'm not really leaving "voluntary" What happens if you say I'll stay + what is in your written contract re the relocaerion allowance? – user151019 Nov 13 '18 at 18:00
  • @Mark added the offer language in the question. – Tina J Nov 13 '18 at 18:03
  • @JoeStrazzere Probably they will ask the max they can!! – Tina J Nov 13 '18 at 18:04
  • yeah, the HR guy told me that unless my manager agrees to pay that out of their budget. I have to talk to him. – Tina J Nov 13 '18 at 18:39
  • Because it is also written I get 15% of my bonus. So logically, I should also get something back. – Tina J Nov 13 '18 at 18:54
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You can re-read your contract, but a few things:

  1. Most of those contracts force you to repay the bonus unless you are laid off; they often have language that says something like if you decide to leave or if you are let go for performance reasons. Edit in response to the language being added: "Should you choose to end your employment" means that if you decide to leave due to a conflict with your boss you will have to repay the company in most any circumstance.
  2. The language usually specifies that you have to repay the entire bonus and not the portion you get after taxes; the good news here is that you should be able to adjust your tax filing accordingly.

Many people in these situations decide to stay until the 1 year mark and then leave to avoid the penalty.

TL;DR if you decide to leave, you are most likely going to have to pay back the entire $5000.

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    The company paid you $5000 so wants that back - what you dd with it is of n interst to them - ht you paid the IRS hey do not care. – user151019 Nov 13 '18 at 18:02
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    added the offer language in the question. – Tina J Nov 13 '18 at 18:04
  • I added an edit. – dbeer Nov 13 '18 at 18:05
  • @JoeStrazzere I will clarify my wording. I meant to say it covers the company. – dbeer Nov 13 '18 at 18:09
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    After I talked to the HR guy at my exit interview, they just didn't pay me my last pay check ($4200 before tax, $2850 after tax and benefits), in place of $5K bonus repayments (before tax) + 13 hrs of PTO owing (=$750)! They said I saved $1200 for me. I think it was a good thing for me. – Tina J Nov 13 '18 at 22:25

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