How to pay contractor, who to make check out to?

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Hello
I hired a contractor to do some work, the work is complete and I got a bill. The amount is $800. On the invoice at the bottom they wrote in ink make check payable to "john smith", the owner. Not the name of the company.
I guess they are doing this to avoid taxes.
The issue is, I would like to make the check out to the business's name as this work involved a permit and was done over a dispute with a neighbor so I want a record incase there are any further legal issues between me and my neighbor. Should I just make the check out to the companies business or to the owner?
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Hmm. A couple of ways to go on this.
You could call him and say that if he wants this to be off the books, then offer me a substantial discount.
or, (and I'd tend to do this for the reasons you cited)
You could call him and just let him know that you don't feel comfortable doing this off the books because of permitting and other legal reasons, and let him know you'll be sending the check in the company name.
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Just curious... couldn't you put "John Smith of ABC company" in the payee field and the invoice # in the memo field?
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Is that how you operate? The contractor completes the work to your satisfaction, then you try to back-end in a discount by squeezing the guy?

Sheesh. No one cares about who's name is on the flippin' check! As another post mentioned, just reference the invoice number in the memo area on the check.
R
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Abe wrote:

And I agree, because avoiding paying his fair share of income taxes means the hohorable tax payers have to pay more than their fair share.
I think anyone stupid enough to either brag about their cheating on taxes or who asks for payment in a way which makes you suspect he is doing so.....deserves any "dissing" he gets.
It might not just be taxes though, perhaps he's got judgements against his business for not paying bills and is trying to avoid having your payment grabbed for those.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Care to extrapolate beyond reason any more, or are you done? Hell, the guy could be a mass murderer and he'll be using the money to fund terrorism! Police! Police!
We're talking about a business arrangement. I am not in charge of running anyone else's life other than my own. I don't want to be your nanny, your mother, your guardian, your judge and jury, or anything else. I expect to be treated squarely, and I'll do the same with you. I expect you to talk to me. If you have special requests, let me know what they are beforehand. If you mess with me, I'll smack you down. I'm very good at that.
I do my due diligence before I hire someone. I'll know before I sign anything if there are judgments and other complaints. I don't guess as to someone's motivation and how they handle their finances. I simply protect my own interests. I'm very good at that, too.
Some may want to play cop. That's fine. They're free to handle their affairs any way they want. If I don't like the arrangement, I won't sign on.
BTW, I've never met an "honorable" tax payer. Every single one I've ever met has felt that they are paying too much in taxes. Haven't met one that decided they weren't getting taxed enough and sent extra money in to make up the difference. That's what an honorable tax payer would do, right?
If you want to feel you're not paying any more in taxes than you have to, you don't go running around beating up on little guys, you work the proper channels and let your opinion be known on the _huge_ amounts of wasteful government spending. How many one-man-band contractors would you need to bust to equal one hour of the war in Iraq? How about tax breaks and windfall profits for Big Oil, Halliburton (still love their briefcases), etc.?
R
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RicodJour wrote:
<snipped>

Two wrongs still don't make a right, do they?
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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On Wed, 20 Jun 2007 13:40:14 -0700, RicodJour

No. Why would you say that? An honorable tax payer figures out what his taxes are supposed to be, according to the rules, taking advantage of tax breaks that apply to him, as the IRS encourages people to do, and he pays that amount.
There is no need to pay more, although I think a few people do and I know a lot of people leave money to the federal and state goverments when they die.
IF you thought a particular tax break was immoral, that would be an argument for not taking advantage of it, but for no special reason to pay more than the properly figured amount is, that is not required to be honorable.
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Yeah, it's called escheat.

There's a fine line between "properly figured amount" and fudging. The odds that everyone would agree on what you considered proper are rather slim. You makes your choices, you takes you lumps.
I frequent garage sales. I'm always looking for a bargain, and have had at least my share of luck in finding them at garage sales. At a recent one, I bought a Trek fully-suspended bike for my sister, a Physical Training study course for my nephew, a Vornado fan for me, and a few other things. The woman tallied it up and said $16. I was a bit embarrassed by the low price and asked her if it was okay if I gave her $20 to keep it simple. I knew that the people were trying to raise some money, they had a few little kids running around, and the $4 wasn't going to bankrupt me.
I have a friend that would have offered her 25 cents for all that stuff if she'd asked for 50 cents. If she'd asked for a dime he would have asked to have it for a nickel. He looks at things in a different way. He's still a good person.
R
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On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 05:56:18 -0700, RicodJour

I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about people with proper wills who leave money to the federal and state governments.

That's good of you, seriously.

I"m sure. But there is no set price on used merchandise, especially at yard sales.
The tax rates aren't made up on the spur of a Sunday afternoon, and while there are some areas where people who know the tax laws disagree, in most cases they agree.
I used to get tv's off the street and fix them and sell them, all B&W's iirc, for between 20 and 45 dollars. Hard to "make a profit" if I had to buy the Samms notes or any parts. But it was fun too. I had two kinds of customers, the kind that wouldn't pay what I asked no matter how cheap I was, and the kind who didn't dicker. Because of the first kind, I started quoting a price 5 dollars higher than what I really wanted. This worked fine with the first kind of person, but one time, after I helped a non-dickering guy take the tv to the subway, I felt the need to give him back 5 dollars, and an explanation of why I overcharged. I don't know what he thought of that.
I also learned to offer them only two tv's, of different prices. If I offered 3, they couldn't decide. If they were the same price, they couldn't decide. So often they bought nothing. When I learned to offer only two, almost everyone who came over bought one.

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snipped-for-privacy@worldemail.com says...

No.
The distinction you're missing is between tax *avoidance* and tax *evasion*. If you feel you're paying too much in taxes, you can act within the law to avoid taxes -- find legitimate deductions, change your investment strategies, defer income, etc. That's all legal and honorable conduct, it's obeying the letter and the spirit of the law.
Tax *evasion* is when you cross the line and commit fraud or other crimes to avoid paying taxes. That's no longer legal or honorable, it is willfully violating the letter and the spirit of the law.
--
snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/
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it's called lets make a deal!

I think contractors should be compelled to show each customer where the money went
fritos beer fried chicken WHAT? YOU HAD FRITOS ON MY MONEY? WHAT?!? I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!???
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i had you lamped for a slightly anemic, well-dressed country nigger
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I'd make the check out to the company (especially if its listed on the permit). Thats how I did it with our granite contractor in AZ. They wanted the check 'personal' to get the cash right away because (I found out later) the outfit was going out of business and they didn't want to mistakenly leave any $$ for their creditors. In theory, if I hadn't paid "the company", I believe there could have been 'creditors' come after me for a 'company' bill not paid.
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I don't like specifying these reasons. It implies that if you didn't have permit issues, you'd cooperate in his tax evasion.
Even if you would cheat on your own taxes, you're only one person. Why encourage it in other people, when there are millions of them?
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wrote:

That is, the effect on society is worse to encourage other people to cheat or commit other wrongs, than it is to do so yourself in secret. When one cheats in secret, he doesn't encourage other people to do so.
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Right. If you shit in private, it's not shitting. There's way too much of that "what you don't know won't hurt you" stuff going on in the world.
The bottom line of what you are saying is that you don't want to feel that anyone is paying less than their fair share of the tax - less than what _you_ consider to be their fair share of the tax.
I'm not on this planet to impose my views and morals upon others. There's also way too much of that stuff going on in the world.
R
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RicodJour wrote: ...

The former yes, the latter no...what I _don't_ want (and a prime reason as noted earlier for using the company name as opposed to individual) is the deliberate underreporting of business income subject to self-employment taxes, etc., which afaict would be the only reason to care how the check was made out.

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DPB, have you ever been at a BBQ and had a couple of beers and driven yourself home? Did you stop at the police station and turn yourself in? I'm sure you've had friends/kids have a couple and drive themselves home. Do you alert the cops and give them the license plate number? Have you ever exceeded the speed limit? Do you send money to the traffic violations boys? Send money to the insurance company since your rates should have gone up if you were caught? I could go on, but you catch my drift. Let he who is without fault, right?
Wishing people would do the "right" thing (right thing in _your_ eyes) is fine, trying to enforce your wishes is something else entirely. You may be comfortable playing daddy to other adults, I'm not.
As I said from the beginning, I would not be happy about the contractor surprising me with a request for payment to himself personally. I like things to be spelled out up front. You can say yes or no to the request. Just don't try to sell those actions as being "for the good of the people", because that's not what it is at all, and you know it.
R
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