Sunday, July 11, 2010

BP and fisherman at odds

The oil spill in the Gulf has exposed another major issue in this country. The underground economy is alive and well. As taxes increase, many folks are simply avoiding the problem by working in cash.

Now a bunch of fisherman in the gulf are having a problem getting paid because BP wants to base payments on tax forms and they simply don't have them, or have seriously underreported their income.

This could get ugly as fisherman demand payments for income they can't prove, but likely earned. I feel sympathy for the fisherman, but can also see BP's point that they simply won't pay out based on verbal statements. Heck, I could say I was a fisherman who lost money.

There are reports that some fisherman are making $3,000 a day skimming oil, which eclipses what they would make if they were fishing.

So, what to do? If you come clean that you have under reported your income will that sic the IRS on the fisherman.

Don't really know where I come down on this because I feel no sympathy for BP, but if you have been working for years under the table you have reaped an incredible benefit for not paying your taxes.

I'd be interested in what you think.


DashRipRock said...

My loyalty is with neither party. The fishermen don't play by the same rules most of us do and work in cash only and pay no taxes. Great work if you can do it. More power to them if they avoid paying taxes EXCEPT when you have to prove what you actually earn. I don't blame BP for balking at paying. As Jim said, anyone could claim they're fishermen and make X amount without having to prove it. In a similar way it reminds me of someone who pays a scalper $300 for a $100 face value concert ticket. The concert is cancelled and you're only going to get the $100 face value refunded even though you tell the box office you actually spent $300. Once again, people want to have a win-win scenario regardless of how careless they run a business.

Anonymous said...

I can see BP's point. We live in a world of scam artists who've tried to exploit 9-11, Haiti, the tsunamis and even scam artists who pretend they have cancer. No problems with BP wanting proof of income or occupation.

Those fisherman, whom I sympathize with, need to be careful. My wife used to work at a restaurant where the owner wasn't paying her taxes, and things got very ugly. There was that day when a black Dodge charter pulled up and into the store walked a woman wearing black, dark sunglasses and acting as if she'd never told or laughed at a joke in her life.

Jim: as a freelance writer one thing I'm adamant about is reporting my income.

inky said...

This is actually quite simple: You are required by law to report to the government what you earn. Period. Taxes for the majority of Americans have actually gone down, not up, so I'm not buying into the argument that these fishermen have gone underground to protest high taxes.

When you are dishonest, you usually get punished in some way or another. As much as I detest BP, these fishermen should not be compensated for cheating the system.