How to Report Under the Table Pay to the IRS

Working “under the table” refers to receiving payment for services without reporting it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While it may seem tempting to avoid taxes, it is illegal and can result in serious consequences if caught. Reporting under the table pay is essential for maintaining your legal and financial integrity. Here are some steps to follow if you need to report under the table pay to the IRS:

1. Gather evidence: Collect any documentation, such as emails, text messages, or payment records, that prove the under the table payments you received.

2. Determine the amount: Calculate the total amount of under the table pay you received during the tax year. Be as accurate as possible to ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

3. Prepare your tax return: Fill out the appropriate tax forms, such as Form 1040, and include all your income, both reported and unreported. You may need to attach additional forms, such as Schedule C, for self-employment income.

4. Amend past returns: If you have previously failed to report under the table pay, you should file an amended tax return for each year involved. Use Form 1040X to correct your previously filed returns.

5. Pay any additional taxes owed: Calculate the additional taxes owed on your unreported income and include payment with your tax return. Failure to pay the correct amount can result in penalties and interest.

6. Consult a tax professional: If you are unsure about how to report under the table pay or need assistance with the process, it is advisable to consult a tax professional. They can guide you through the reporting process and help you avoid any potential pitfalls.

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7. Consider the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP): If you have been misclassifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees, you may qualify for the VCSP. This program allows you to reclassify your workers and pay reduced penalties, avoiding an audit or investigation.

8. Keep accurate records going forward: To avoid future under the table payments, maintain accurate records of all your income and expenses. This will help ensure compliance with tax laws and allow you to report your income correctly.


1. What are the consequences of not reporting under the table pay to the IRS?
Failure to report under the table pay can result in penalties, fines, and even criminal charges. The IRS may also audit your past tax returns, leading to further financial and legal consequences.

2. Can I report under the table pay anonymously?
No, when reporting under the table pay, you must provide your personal information to the IRS. Anonymous reporting is not an option.

3. Will the person paying me under the table be notified of my report?
The IRS generally does not disclose the identity of the person who reported the under the table pay. However, in certain situations, it may be necessary for the IRS to contact the payer for further investigation.

4. Can I report under the table pay for past years?
Yes, you can file amended returns for past years to report under the table pay. However, it is important to do so as soon as possible to minimize penalties and interest.

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5. Will the IRS audit me if I report under the table pay?
There is no guarantee that reporting under the table pay will trigger an audit. However, it is possible that the IRS may decide to audit your tax returns based on the information provided.

6. Can I negotiate penalties if I report under the table pay voluntarily?
The IRS may be more lenient in assessing penalties if you voluntarily report under the table pay through programs like the VCSP. However, the final decision on penalties rests with the IRS.

7. Can I report under the table pay on my state taxes as well?
Yes, you should report under the table pay on your state tax return in addition to your federal tax return. State tax authorities have their own reporting requirements.

8. Is there a statute of limitations for reporting under the table pay?
Generally, the IRS has three years from the date you filed your tax return to audit it. However, if you failed to report a substantial amount of income (more than 25% of your gross income), the statute of limitations may be extended to six years.

Reporting under the table pay is crucial for complying with tax laws and avoiding legal repercussions. It is always advisable to consult a tax professional for guidance tailored to your specific situation.

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