14

I received an ACH Electronic Credit of $0.00 from an old employer I used to work for over a year ago (at least, that's what the name says...unless it's a fake).

I have no clue why someone would do this, let alone the HR of that company.

I left on good terms and I'm confused as to what to do next, if anything.

Should I contact the company's HR department and ask about it? Would this count as some kind of "income" that I have to report on my taxes? What should I do?

Edit: all jokes aside, I just want to make sure something weird doesn't happen down the road if this implies I'm somehow still employed with them or something...

  • 1
    Is it possible they owe you anything related to profit sharing, vacation balance, travel expenses...? – mhoran_psprep Nov 6 '19 at 14:41
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    Only the employer knows why this "payment" was made. What is making you hesitant to ask them? Also, it doesn't make sense to report $0 on your taxes, unless this consists of income minus deductions or expenses which should be reported separately, but your employer probably would've sent you that information if it were the case. – Dukeling Nov 6 '19 at 16:11
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    Im surprised a bank would allow a $0 transaction. – Andy Nov 6 '19 at 23:16
34

If not a scam: They might have balanced the books over the past few years and their accountant got very angry about a pay discrepancy of $2,23 over 2018. So they decided to correct that discrepancy and someone built a neat excel sheet to calculate the amounts everyone should get.

So you got your fair part out of all 12.536 employees.
The CEO might have actually gotten an amount that rounds up to a cent.

The builder of the excel sheet got extra mushrooms on the pizza he ordered while clocking up overtime.

Edit: Most of the time this would have been announced through (at least) an email though so you should check with HR anyway.

  • 8
    This is funny because it may be true, +1 – Ripstein Nov 6 '19 at 7:48
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    Assuming this is the case, is it normal to keep old employees on payroll, even after 12+ months of no employment? That would be my next curiosity.. – Anonymous Nov 6 '19 at 7:51
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    @Anonymous in many cases they need to keep your information on hand at least until the accountant signs off on the books and often longer but that depends on your jurisdiction. – Borgh Nov 6 '19 at 8:11
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    @SouravGhosh Money from 2018 should be distributed between the employees of 2018 – FooTheBar Nov 6 '19 at 9:27
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    @SouravGhosh usually companies need to keep this information around for accounting and liability issues. Not indefinitely but certainly multiple years. Sensitive information should be locked away in some kind of archive anyway so it is no more point of worry than during your actual employment. – Borgh Nov 6 '19 at 10:35
5

Adding on to Borgh's excellent answer I worked in a previous life for a company's Unclaimed Property division. Companies are required by law after a period of years (varies by state and the type of liability) to remit all outstanding liabilities in a lump sum to the state the individual lives in (where known). They are also required to make a good faith effort to locate the individuals for whom the liability is owed.

Many states have a minimum amount that the company is required to send out letters and various other communication streams. In those cases the company might simply send out a distribution to the last known address. Checks sent in this manner often are for incredibly negligible amounts, including 0.00 checks. This could have been for a retirement account or other benefit to the employee that they did not take advantage of and where the balance fell to nothing. Businesses would rather pay all of this out in bulk via systematic processes than other methods of purging from their systems and it always looks better for them to send the funds out to their employees/customers rather than remit it to the state.

As noted in the previous answer a call to the employer's HR office could clear up if this or another reason was the cause of the distribution.

References: https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money

https://www.missingmoney.com/en/

  • It could be a software bug not suppressing correctly a $0.00 debt. Maybe a rounding error and a truncation on print caused this. – Michele L'Intenditore Nov 7 '19 at 13:57
0

I had this store card that would send me a $0.00 sheet with nothing else on it. I'm thinking problem is the computer prints it out and packs the letter. The only human interaction is someone having to pick up the box of envelopes and take it to the mail. So no actual human is really aware or doing it on purpose. I'm thinking a lot of companies waste a lot of resources doing this. If you think about it if some store has 100k customers, and each month prints just 1k at a rate of .01 per page that's 10 dollars which doesn't sound like a lot but if you factor in the number of months, years, etc you got a lot of wasted money.

My thought is it's some sort of bug in the payroll software. Maybe they "closed" your account and the glitch is that it automatically prints a check and deposit it into the bank if it has an account. Maybe the developer forgot to do a check to see if balance > 0.00 or maybe it's a requirement that regardless of balance it prints and deposits the amount.

I think you should just ignore it unless you want them to be aware of the glitch. I would only bring it up if it is frequently happening as it would be annoying.

Edit: My answer is based on no knowledge of any sort of laws. I'm just stating from a common sense perspective but it may be some sort of law requirement in your state or country. Regardless it's a one time thing usually and I would just ignore it and not do anything for now. Only bring it up if you're seeing it on a interval.

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