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What are the chances that you (generally speaking) could get into trouble for not paying taxes on a small job in which you were

San Diego, CA |

paid under the table? For instance, say you did some small jobs for a friend or a neighbor (house work, yard work, etc), and over the course of a year you made somewhere between $1000 and $2000. What are the chances you (generally speaking) could get into trouble for not paying taxes on that?
This question is just a general question for general information based on curiosity, and is not based on anything specific that has to do with me or my actions.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Right. If you can delete this posting, then I would. You don't know which agency is monitoring this forum and I suspect they won't believe your disclaimer. This is a question that you can have answered by contacting an attorney who provides a free consultation. Many reputable attorneys do such and I'm certain there are many in San Diego that will provide a free consultation for you. I wish you the best.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.


  2. The chance of the IRS detecting your failure to pay tax is microscopically small. However, committing tax fraud is a bad idea.


  3. By "friend or neighbor" do you mean someone close enough to you to probably give money to you anyway? or do you mean an employer?.

    If the "friend" not someone who regularly employs OTHER people in the same way, the friend might even say that it was a gift or to cover your expenses in performing first time favors.....

    But if this person were a habitual employer of other people "under the table", what if the IRS comes after such an employer?
    IRS/DOJ will need people to testify, but who were not given a deal or preference. The ideal testifier would be one of the "little people" who have been charged with a federal misdemeanor tax evasion and who have taken a federal misdemeanor guilty plea.

    The person taking money under the table might just get elected to join a line of 20 or 30 and testify against the employer (after each in the line have already pled guilty to the misdemeanor).

    Hmm, lets see..... Take $10 per hour as a bench mark, and over a year you worked 150 hours.

    That's pretty significant. A half-day per week maid over the course of a year earns $40 x 50 = $2000. If that employer were thinking about applying for an ambassadorship, they need to fix their "under the table" problem.

    Conversely, if you were paid ONE TIME $2000 to clear some land, the employer might not have such a nanny problem and might not worry about their ambassadorship confirmation hearings.

    However still, If the employer were your grandmother, the money might have been a gift anyway and they just gave you something to do while you are hanging around, so that you could get a sense of accomplishment.

    Your facts were vague enough to describe the full range of possibilities from criminal to gift.

    Curt Harrington
    Certified Tax Specialist -- State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (J.D.; LL.M.-Tax)
    Electrical(M.S.E.E.)-Chemical(M.S.Ch.E)(B.S. Chemistry)-Mechanical Patent (Intellectual Property) Attorney & MBA (562) 594-9784 --- http://patentax.com
    Bio: http://patentax.com/curt/index.html
    Library: http://patentax.com/library/

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.