Can I be an escort legally?
If I create a website advertising that I'm an escort for $300 an hour. Is this legal? Do I have to pay taxes? Can I be an independent escort
7 attorney answers
Income is taxed. Business must be registered. Licence, permit, compliance.......
You are a long way from starting.
Being an escort is not illegal. The criminality comes from when sexual acts are exchanged for the money. With respect to taxes; you must pay taxes on your earnings according to law.
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Sex for money is illegal. All income has to be reported to the IRS.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
To expand on the previous answers:
Escorting - trading your time and companionship for money - is not illegal in most states. Exchanging sex acts for money - and the law is pretty broad on what constitutes a sex act - is illegal in almost all states. (Even in Nevada, unless you're a licensed sex worker in a licensed brothel, prostitution is a crime.)
Don't get cute about it. "He paid me $300 and we sat around and talked for an hour and then I had sex with him for free because he was nice" is not going to fly. Even if it's true, you're going to have a Hell of a time convincing a judge and/or jury of it. If you want to do sex work, consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction and/or a licensed sex therapy clinic.
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As my colleagues said - an ESCORT is a legal occupation, a PROSTITUTE is NOT a legal occupation.
ESCORTS may NOT perform sex acts with clients. Period.
Your business must be properly licensed, and properly formed under the Business and Corporations Laws of the State of New York (which, by the way, will only cover your work in NY in most instances).
You also must pay taxes on all income as stated.
You need not work for someone else, but I would strongly recommend that for your own safety and security, you work with a service that does criminal and expanded background checks on "clients" prior to your work with them.
Sit down with a business formations attorney to discuss the details of how to set up the business. And make sure you keep the attorney's number, as well as that of criminal defense counsel in case there are any miscommunications resulting in your arrest.
For starters, you will need to file for an EIN (Federal Tax ID)
Determine whether you will have any employees (and deal with benefits and contracts for employment for them)
Learn about Consumer Protection Law in NYC
Deal with any online transaction payment systems
Learn about IRS business taxes, NYS business taxes and NYC business taxes.
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This does not constitute legal advice or the engagement of my services as an attorney.
I presume that you know the law against prostitution. Provided you keep your nose clean there, and take steps to ensure your personal safety, it seems to me that your most pressing issues are taxes and criminal defense. As my colleague stated, you need to memorize your defense lawyer's cell phone. Taxes can be kept straight through scrupulous record-keeping and cash management. The temptation to under-report your cash earnings will be strong. Business formation issues can be minimized by your remaining a sole proprietorship and avoiding employees. And I trust that you are at least 18.
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Creating a business that sells time and company for money is indeed legal. Hopefully you are adept at keeping diligent records of your dealings to remove any notion of impropriety. That said, it is clearly not legal to exchange sexual favors for money in any state, including New York. If you are not planning on engaging in sexual acts for payment for same and only plan on creating a dispatching service for yourself and/or others to provide local companionship to lonely or traveling men and women then you should be ok as far as criminality goes.
Any business you create and run, or join as an employee, will incur tax liabilities on yourself and your business. Presumably, this is not a charitable organization you are seeking to create. Word to the wise: do not try to circumvent or doop the IRS or NY State tax board.
Best of luck in your endeavors.
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