Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Snow Cone Queen called me ignorant!

I hate when that happens.

So, the Eldest Aardvark Child has been working at the snow cone stand for two weeks. The owner (aka The Snow Cone Queen - TSCQ for short) is pregnant and has not been around very much. Between that, and the EAC's propensity for gathering as little information as possible and then only understanding half of whatever she's been told, we've been waiting to get her I-9 and W-4 turned in. At the beginning of last week, the EAC understood TSCQ to say that if she'd get the forms and fill them out, she would accept them and start withholding the appropriate taxes.

This year the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic/Concert was held in the Stockyards. Which coincidentally, is where the snow cone stand is located. The EAC was on-call to go to work Sunday. Sure enough, after church, she called and they wanted her to come in. And finally, she and the owner were there together. When she tried to give her the paperwork, TSCQ looked at them and said no, she wasn't going to "do all the paperwork. You don't make enough money to qualify." Then TSCQ turns to the other "contract labor" employee she has working and asks, "Did you have to file any tax forms last year?" And naturally, he said, "No." (Nothing like asking 18-year-olds tax advice, eh?)

I told her when she got home Sunday night that she had worked her last at the snow cone stand. She was disappointed (and so was I - it was easy work and good money), but I think she understands. It's not that I'm such a big fan of paying taxes, but I'm sure not a proponent of defrauding the government.

So, Monday morning I called TSCQ to tell her the EAC would not be coming back to work.

She was not happy at all when I responded to "Why?" with, "You aren't handling your payroll legally and I don't want her to be a part of that. She should be classified as an employee and have payroll taxes withheld and not be classified as contract labor."

To summarize her response
1. The EAC doesn't earn enough.
2. The EAC doesn't work enough hours.
3. The EAC isn't entitled to 'benefits'. (Since when are payroll taxes a benefit?)
4. TSCQ has been doing her taxes this way for three years.
5. It's a shame the EAC has to lose a good job because her father doesn't know what he's talking about.
And then she hung up on me.

I don't think she's knowingly violating the law. Maybe she is, but I'm willing to bet she just doesn't know any better. And because no one has ever brought it up before, she's convinced that she's right. (I'm not even going to get it to the pregnancy/hormonal thing...oops, ignore that last comment) I'm debating whether or not to send her a copy of IRS Publication 15-A.
Under common-law rules, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you can control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even when you give the employee freedom of action. What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.

and

If you have an employer-employee relationship, it makes no difference how it is labeled. The substance of the relationship, not the label, governs the worker’s status. Nor does it matter whether the individual is employed full time or part time. (emphasis in the original)
Then again, I'm not sure that I shouldn't just let the whole thing drop, since I think that my motivation is because I just want her to recognize that I'm not the one who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

(Whenever the subject of Spiritual Gifts comes up, I tell Mrs. A I have the Gift of Being Right.)

It's a character flaw, I know.

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