Tax cheats prey on immigrants in construction trade

From The Seattle Times — “A nationwide McClatchy investigation found that in Southern states, where there’s a lack of unions and a supply of eager immigrants like Barreda, as many as a third of construction workers have been wrongly classified as independent contractors instead of employees.The problem persists across the nation, and each year the practice costs taxpayers billions of dollars while state and federal governments are desperate for tax revenue.But, as McClatchy found, misclassification breeds other schemes as company owners clamor for an advantage over competitors.

• Companies may dodge prevailing wages required by the Davis-Bacon Act, a 1930s-era law that mandates fair wages on federally backed projects.

• Workers are sometimes cheated on hours or overtime pay.

• They may be paid cash under the table, pushed into an underground economy.

• Companies refusing to provide tax forms that allowed workers to file tax returns.

• Bosses forcing workers to pay a fee to use protective gear such as hard hats and steel-toe boots.

• Workers forced to give some of their wages to company bosses.

• A workplace injury without any insurance to take care of it.

“You have certain contractors who find ways to game the system,” said David Kersh, the executive director of the Carpenters/Contractors Cooperation Committee in California, a labor-management group. “They’re cheating workers. They’re cheating taxpayers.”…”

Read the story at Tax cheats prey on immigrants in construction trade

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