Cash jobs, no bill no tax, under the table. These are all common terms you hear in the construction and home improvement industry. No one wants to pay more than they have to, no one likes paying taxes, and it is unfortunately true that tax dollars are not always spent wisely. However, these underhanded techniques to save money have several negative implications.

First of all, if you are interviewing a contractor and they mention avoiding paying tax three things are happening. One, it is blatantly illegal. You and your contractor can be charged or fined for such activity. Two, if your contractor brings this up he is essentially admitting his dishonesty and thus his untrustworthiness.  Finally, if this is your idea, you are defining yourself as dishonest.

Contracts provide clarity and prevent misunderstandings

Have you found a contractor you can trust? How do you know? Maybe friends or family members have told you they good work, have good prices, or some other benefit, but if they are willing to lie about their income on their business taxes, if they are willing to hide things from the tax man, if they are willing to put their character into question then what makes you think you can really trust them? They have obviously demonstrated they are comfortable lying so how do you know they will deliver what they promised? There is the problem. Lying about income to the tax man means that your contractor could be lying to you about the work they are performing. There is no way you can really trust them because by lying, they have demonstrated they are not trustworthy.

Some people think that it’s ok because both the contractor and the homeowner are on the same page.  Since they are in this together, their reasoning goes, they can trust each other, at least for this transaction. The problem with that line of thinking is that once the contractor has your money there is no reason for them to complete the project, or even start it for that matter and you have no recourse.

Contracts protect both you and your contractor.

When hiring someone, always have a signed contract that spells everything out in as much detail as possible. This is your agreement with each other on what is to happen, how it is to happen, how long it should take, how much it should cost, and what warranty is offered. If any communication problems arise you can both refer to the contract for clarification.

This means you will have to pay tax but think of it this way:  those tax dollars will hopefully be spent in beneficial ways in your community. Also, think of that extra amount as your insurance that in the event there is a problem you have proof of your agreement with each other. Finally, consider that amount as a form of insurance to prevent problems from coming up in the first place.

Don’t degrade yourself to save a few dollars and don’t enable contractors to degrade themselves to get your business. Always get a contract, accept the tax bill, and your projects will go smoother.


Bellevue Landscaping is a quality oriented Toronto landscaping company serving Toronto, Vaughan, and Mississauga.  We specialize in developing home landscapes into beautiful spaces families can enjoy!