UCF student’s mystery W-2 linked to professional employer organization

Local restaurant added payroll service that created tax scare

ORLANDO, Fla. – When Daniel Gomez received a W-2 tax form from a Miami-based company, he immediately thought his tax identification had been hacked.

The 22-year-old University of Central Florida student told News 6 his debit card had been compromised twice with purchases he had nothing to do with and he was afraid this was another level of theft.

“I worked for Mangos, Café RIO and Dexter’s,” Daniel Gomez said. “ I never worked in Miami.”

Daniel Gomez lives with his parents in Ocoee and spent most of the summer in Costa Rica with a volunteer environmental group protecting aquatic turtles.

His mother, Liliana Gomez, said she, her husband and her son were hacked during the recent Equifax breach and that all three had been advised their information had been tracked to the dark web.

Liliana Gomez contacted News 6 because the Miami address on the W-2 appeared to lead to a three-bedroom home, not a professional office.

“This could be happening to another kid doing taxes by themselves,” she said. “It’s our address, his social (security number) and his name.”

News 6 reviewed the W-2’s and found one common factor: a name on both the Dexter’s W-2 and the W-2 sent to Daniel Gomez by ADP TotalSource Co. XXI Inc.

The company name was Hospitality Investment.

News 6 asked the UCF student to contact Dexter’s restaurant to see if they were somehow connected to ADP.

The manager confirmed the restaurant had switched to ADP to handle the payroll and taxes last June.

Veteran CPA Jeff Lareau said he can understand why someone would be concerned that they had been hacked but that in this case, ADP had been hired as a PEO or Professional Employer Organization.

“This W-2 issue is something you’re only going to see in this situation," Lareau said. “This ADP company is actually based in Miami and that’s why the address is different.”

Under a PEO agreement, the assigned company, in this case ADP, would become the employer of record for tax purposes by filing payroll taxes under its own tax identification number.

Lareau said if you suspect an inaccuracy or worse, check your pay history for the tax year.

“I would say the first step would be to look back at your pay stubs and see if the two W-2’s are accurate,“ he said. “Next step would be to contact the employer and ask them the question: ‘What’s going on, why do I have two W-2’s?’”

The Gomez family was very happy the end result was simply a payroll change and not identity theft.

“I feel a sigh of relief,” Daniel Gomez said. “Thank you.”

For more information on what you need to do if you suspect your tax data has been hacked, click here.

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