After the fuss over Zoe Baird some years ago, there really is no excuse for persons in public life not to be certain that their dealings with anyone who has done work for them in their homes are squeaky clean. (The Baird case involved undocumented workers.)
At the same time, I wonder . . .
I know householders who have persons come to their houses once a week or once every two weeks to clean.
(Well, maybe not so much anymore.)
I’m not talking about commercial outfits, like The Maids, where the householder is dealing with a company. I’m talking about what in the old sexist days would have been called “cleaning ladies,” and the cleaners are almost all women.
I also know one woman who cleans private houses for a living (and, actually, she
does was doing okay).
No, these are just people who make their living cleaning other persons’ houses.
I wonder how many of the householders think about paying taxes for their household help. And I wonder how many of the cleaners want them to.
More to the point, I wonder how many of the householders ever think that they should treat as an employee someone who comes to their house occasionally. Frankly, I bet most of the householders just don’t think of it.
And, as Duncan points out, keeping those tax records is a lot of work. I have to do it for my church. Every quarter, the church must remit tax payments to the IRS. The other day, I spent four hours doing three W-2s and two 1099s. Why four hours? You have to use original forms from the IRS, can’t make any mistakes, and can’t make any corrections. In other words, if you make a mistake, you start over.
(You can also do it electronically, but the church doesn’t have an email address. Furthermore, there are only two members with the internet skills to do it. Something happens to them, oh, well.)
Where was I going with this?
Oh, yeah. If I find out that my neighbors and acquaintances aren’t complying with IRS regs for their cleaning ladies, should I turn them in and is there a reward?