We’re not recommending that anyone take an under the table job so that they don’t have to pay taxes. However, there are other good reasons for wanting to get paid under the table. First, there will be no withholdings for taxes or social security, so all of the money you earned is readily available to you. Also, you don’t have to wait two weeks or more to get your paycheck, as the money is paid upon completion of the job. And because it is cash, you have some leeway as to when you report the earnings.
We’ve done some research and found a list of popular under the table jobs. We’ve split the list into two types of jobs. One that is a legitimate job with a substantial portion of income that is under the table, and one that is, or can be, completely under the table.
Partially Under the Table Jobs
- Bartender – Bartenders make a large portion of their wages in cash. Sometimes over 80 percent. While they are required to report their tips, many bartenders greatly underreport their tips. Some small restaurant and bars will even hire bartenders to work completely under the table. Although this is not the norm, it does happen.
- Waiter or Waitress – The food service industry is based mainly on tips and gratuity. Wait staff are typically paid a small wage and rely on their tips. Successful wait staff can make multiples of their wages in tips. Although they will likely be required to report any tips that come from credit cards, they often underreport the cash portion.
- Pizza Delivery – Delivering pizzas is another job that offers very low wages and the drivers rely on tips. While they are required by law to report their full earnings, most tips are paid in cash and they are often underreported.
- Valet – Most valets are paid small wages and earn tips. Some valets are paid completely under the table and work for the tips they make parking cars.
- Stripper – We included this job because successful strippers can be paid one of the highest hourly rates of all hourly employees. While there is a lot of regulation that goes on in the industry, it is quite obvious that it is a cash business, and most cash businesses include under the table payments.
Jobs That Can Easily Be Completely Under the Table
- Day Worker – Day worker is a term for people that work for a day and are paid upon completion. In the US, many day workers are illegal immigrants that are hired from street corners. In many California communities, there are shelters or designated areas for day workers to gather and wait for employers to pick them up. Hiring day workers is not illegal, but companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants and don’t report the expenses are breaking the law.
- Handyman / Small Construction – Although a legitimate business, many handymen and repairmen are often paid under the table. Many of these people work for a construction company during the week and sell their services on weekends and evenings for under the table pay.
- Many Moonlighting Jobs – Many jobs that are performed outside of the employer’s premises are paid under the table. Many professionals do this to subsidize their income, or to make ends meet.
- Housekeeper – Housekeepers are often paid under the table. By paying them under the table, the house owner saves money by paying them less and the housekeeper gains by not having to pay taxes.
- Gardener / Landscaper – Many hard labor jobs are temporary and therefore paid under the table.
- Painter – Painting is obviously a legitimate business, however, it’s a fact that many painters are paid in cash.
- Freelancers – Freelancers include thousands of jobs, including IT, programming, computer support, web design, writing and public speaking). Freelancers typically take jobs small enough that there are no 1099s involved, and they typically get paid in cash, check or paypal. While many freelancers do report their income and pay taxes, most are paid under the table.
- Almost Any Job from Craigslist – There are thousands of different odd jobs and manual labor jobs available on craigslist. Most of the jobs are offered by regular people and not companies. Therefore, they pay in cash or check and do not report the income to the government.
- Mover – Moving is another very labor intensive industry. While the moving companies pay their employees legitimately, many of the people helping move are often paid under the table.
- Lawn Mower – If you hire a landscaping company to mow your lawn, they probably have invoices and accounting measures in place to bill you as any other company. However, hire a neighbor or high school / college kid to mow and you are paying under the table.
- Babysitter / Nanny – Do you think your babysitter has ever reported the money you’ve paid them? And regarding nannies, there are some that are paid with 1099s and some that are paid in cash.
- Farm Labor – This could fit into the day labor category, but there are also lots of opportunities to get a job helping out on a farm during harvest that often pay under the table.
- Musician – Musicians, whether working in a nightclub or at a private party or wedding, are often paid in cash.
- Tutoring – Most tutors are paid in cash.
- In-Home Salon Services – Many beauty professionals work in-home or visit homes to provide services. Many are paid in cash and not on the books.
- Junk Removal – Everyone needs junk removed at some point. A job like this is typically paid in cash.