All I did was recommend to OP to say "No" to the request by writing the
check to the name on the invoice letterhead, not the personal name at
the bottom, so it seems we also agree...
Well, you seemed to have made a leap here I didn't take. I said there
was a basic reason behind my logic.
Why that seems to have sent you over the edge I don't know.
Yes, I _do_ have a problem w/ tax evasion as a general premise. Whether
I have or haven't ever slipped and done less than an ideal action on
occasion doesn't seem to me to be of any import nor concern or yours,
Damn, and I worked so hard on the thing! I hate editors. ;)
Usually we do. If we always agreed I probably wouldn't like you so
Whether it's in the memo field, a signed receipt, whatever, you're
just protecting your interests and there are plenty of ways to do
that. I just don't see the need to get into guessing the contractor's
motivation and all of that. If you have a question, ask it. If you
don't like the answer, do what you feel is best.
Your replies have been reasonable, though I don't necessarily agree
with them. Some of the other replies are just daft.
DPB, this isn't an edge. It'd take a nifong load more to set me off.
Exactly! I'm not living your life - I have my hands full with my
own. That's all I was suggesting about the issue at hand. Don't try
to live a contractor's life for them.
Dang! You WOULD go and throw _that_ in there... :)
I simply recommended my choice in how to protect my interest best for
the specific case--really no more, no less. If an invoice is presented
from an entity, imo payment should go to that entity. A memo field
certainly would have some bearing, but whether there's any difference in
legal status if push came to shove in a formal dispute resolution I
don't know -- I simply know it would be unequivocal if the check were
indeed made to the entity which seems my best protection. That it also
provides at least some assurance that the recipient be required to
follow the rules of the game, so to speak, is a side benefit.
(As a sidelight, if the invoice had actually been submitted on a scrap
of paper in the guy's handwriting and only his signature below it, I
almost certainly would have paid it that way w/o questioning it -- it's
the dichotomy of a prepared invoice and the written request in
contradiction to it that raises the flag. IOW, imo the contractor
brought this on himself in this case. Although if he had up to this
point made proposals on nice forms and presented business cards, etc., I
might have then done the "why no inovice?" question. It all depends on
how it "feels" overall and this just doesn't seem legit.)
That I can't see any other reason than a desire to subvert those rules
(or other similar ones as in the judgment issue, etc.) is certainly part
of it. I look on it kinda' like locks -- they don't prevent the
determined from breaking and entering, but the do serve to keep the
basically honest that way. I like to spread good wherever and whenever
I can... :)
Are we done now (are we there yet)? :)
I intended to make a comment on this in the other response before I quit
but inadvertently snipped more than I intended.
You seem to be thinking my response is mostly on some "high moral
ground" basis. While "what's right" is part of it, mostly my objection
is really quite pragmatic and self-centered. (Whether in the big scheme
of things it is generally effective in making a difference is, of
course, a totally different question.)
The point is, if I _were_ a contractor (I am self-employed and have been
for some time so I can directly relate) doing business according to the
rules I'd be far less than happy at having to compete against the guy
who isn't. What little I can do to discourage or make that a little
more difficult is only helping me in a competitive sense.
In general, if the only people who were able to give good advice were
the people who had never violated that same advice themselves, there
would be very few people who could give good advice.
Many people learn from their mistakes, and many learn better than
those who have never done the wrong thing.
No one has used the work hypocrite yet, but it's not hypocrisy even
for a repeat litterer, or a repeat Casanova or a repeat criminal to
tell others not to do the same things he does. Who knows best the
problems that come with doing those things but one who does them.
It's only hypocrisy if he tries to give the impression that he doesn't
do or never did the things he actually does, or did, and even then
that doesn't make his advice bad.
If people don't have standards that are higher than their behaviour in
some ways, then they are saints or their standards are not high
Having checks made out to you personally is a pretty dumb tax
avoidance scheme. There will be a trail of cancelled checks for
years, which would make an excellent and irrefutable evidence in a tax
case. And as you point out, it's not unusual to pay some businesses
in the name of the owner.
I don't see how any of this relates to permits or proof the work was
done. If permits were pulled, they are on record. There should also
be a contract or at least a receipt for the work done, which will be
marked paid. The fact that a check was written out on that date for
that amount to the owner completes any evidence you need that the work
was done and paid for.
I agree. If the work was done by this man, why not write it out however he
wants it written? who really cares how he does his banking or his taxes? It
probably makes it easier on him... maybe allows his wife to make the
deposits or whatever... it's irrelevant
That's because that's how most individual dentists list themselves
professionally and do business under that name. At one time I went to a
consortium and they collected all payments under the name of the consortium.
Let's flip this around. I'm sure you've received checks from
customers/clients/friends that were drawn on their business' account,
and whatever the transaction was, it wasn't a "real" business
expense. Do you refuse the check? Do you get all huffy because
they're looking for a deduction?
I fail to see the connection to the situation to which I responded to
Cheri w/ the subject of "receiving" vis a vis "writing" but so be it.
You may be "sure" that has happened, but I honestly can't think of an
Don't know why you're so intent on riding me on this unless it's to
assuage your own conscience, but I stated what I would do on the
question of _writing_ the check and my reasons therefore.
That we have a difference of opinion seems apparent and further jousting
pointless (and futile)...
I don't have a business and don't get many checks.
But I'll tell this story. I was selling my cargo carrier because I
was forced to buy a lighter one. The woman on the phone went into
detail about how they hoped to use one like mine on vacation.
At the end of the conversation, she said her husband was a minister
and asked me if I would give it to their church and take a tax
deduction. She never said a thing about using it for church
It's barely used, good as new, better than new with my reflective
striped tape and carpet bumpers, and assembled by me, and I have the
original receipt, where I paid more than they charge now, so I could
surely save on taxes 30% of the original cost, which is as much as I
can sell it for, but no way am I playing her stinking little game.
And I wouldn't attend her church either.
For a thought experiment to illustrate the difference -- think of suing
that same dentist personally and imagine how how high the barriers are
between his personal assets and those of the business under that name!
The probability of you getting to the proceeds of that check you wrote
with his name on it are pretty miniscule... :)
Think you'd do any better suing a contractor? He probably leases all his
equipment from his wife.
This thread really is one of the silliest ever. If the contractor wanted to
evade taxes, he'd want cash, not a check. If you are not willing to go
along (if that was his intent) then next guy will and it does not matter
since he still has to claim some income, be it your or the last/next person.
Trying to sue a contractor is not easy since most assets are in some other
name anyway, or will be the day before he is served court papers.
Assuming the guy has any business acumen at all, of course. They'll be
in a LLC or some other way to protect personal assets. The point was
only to illustrate the name isn't _necessarily_ the person....
Oh, it has a _long_ way to go to get to that point... :) (or should
that be :( ) :)
It doesn't matter what you do, but if you make the check out to the
company, you are done. If you make it out to the person, you are
supposed to issue a 1099 to the person at the end of the year -- so
the person can't avoid taxes.
Well, if you made a check out to my company name I couldn't cash it because
I don't have a bank account in my company name. I suppose I would pay less
taxes in that case, since I would not have been paid; though I would have to
Why not avoid all that and just pay him?
I did just get a company credit card; I thought that was pretty cool.
See my reasoning in other response for why I'd choose the same way.
That you're not professional enough to run a business isn't my concern.
If you're going to represent yourself as a business, I'm going to deal
with the business. If you want to deal as an individual, come and
represent yourself that way to me and I'll send a 1099 at year end.
Fee for that probably costs more than the checking account would...
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.