Dear Screen Actors Guild Member:
As you may have heard, Axium International, a major entertainment industry payroll house unexpectedly ceased operations yesterday and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Your legal and contracts staff and our outside counsel immediately took steps to investigate the situation and to protect your interests to the maximum degree possible.
This situation is very fluid and we are still gathering critical information. Nonetheless, we wanted to immediately advise you of the following:
It is unlikely that outstanding Axium checks will clear their bank at this point. It is up to each individual who has received or receives such a check to decide whether to attempt to deposit or cash it. If deposited, it may be returned unpaid and your bank may charge a returned item fee, reimbursement for which may be impossible to obtain. If possible, we recommend keeping a copy of any checks and attempting to cash them in person at the issuing bank to avoid fees. We also strongly recommend retaining the originals of any dishonored checks for your records.
Since Axium itself is not the signatory producer for most productions payrolled, the signatory producer will remain liable to the performer for any unpaid wages resulting from dishonored or non-issued Axium checks. Performers who receive returned checks that were issued by Axium for SAG-covered work should immediately advise the appropriate SAG contracts department so that a claim can be initiated.
SAG will be representing the interests of affected SAG performers as well as the interests of the Guild itself. Screen Actors Guild will provide you with information updates as the bankruptcy progresses. At this time it is impossible to determine whether significant sums can be recovered through the bankruptcy process, but you can rest assured that SAG will take every step possible to recover all sums due to SAG-represented performers.
For Performers actively working on projects that are being payrolled by Axium, you or your agents should immediately contact the production to ensure that alternate payroll arrangements are being made to ensure timely payment. Any concerns or issues should be immediately called in to the Guild Axium Bankruptcy Hotline.
It is unclear whether Axium will make arrangements to deliver performer W-2s or 1099s for 2007. However, the Internal Revenue Service has a procedure to deal with this problem. If you do not receive the appropriate tax reporting forms, ask your tax preparers for assistance or get more information from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc154.html. SAG strongly recommends that you keep your most recent Axium paystubs until after the deadline for receipt of a W-2 form.
If you have uncashed or dishonored Axium checks, or if you need further information or assistance, please call the Guild’s Axium Bankruptcy hotline at (323) 549-6450.