Paying Cash, Helping a Tax-Cheat?

Dear Bintel Brief,

If a cleaning lady, repairman, tradesman or even a doctor quotes a price to do a service, but then immediately offers to reduce the price if you pay cash, and you suspect the lower price is offered because the provider will not report the income and pay taxes, are you participating in an unethical transaction? Or are you merely participating in one that might lead to something illegal on the part of the recipient of the payment? What is the appropriate way to respond to such an offer?


Hanna Rosin is a writer for the Atlantic and Double X, and the author of “God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007). The Israeli-born, Queens-reared Rosin lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their three children.

If you have a question for the Bintel Brief, e-mail Questions selected for publication are printed anonymously.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Paying Cash, Helping a Tax-Cheat?

Thank you!

This article has been sent!