Monk | Do you accept cash?
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Do you accept cash?

Do you accept cash?

This is a valid question but, typically, has a hidden meaning. The answer is, for most renovators, “yes we certainly will accept cash as payment”. The meaning often becomes misconstrued when the individual means; will you take cash and not charge taxes? The answer to this questions, for trusted professional renovators is, “no, we charge and remit taxes on all projects and all our dealings are open and transparent”.

Let’s be honest, nobody wants to pay more taxes than they need to pay but I believe a wise man once said, “Give unto Caeser what is Caeser’s”. Taxes are a necessity as they pay for our municipal, provincial, and federal services such as health care, infrastructure, national defence, pensions, etc.

It is always attractive to save money but at what cost? Tax evasion is illegal and punishable with fines and potential incarceration. Trusted, professional and honest contractors do not risk their business and the security of their family by committing fraud in order to earn a few extra dollars.

I have been operating companies for others or myself for over 25 years and I have been asked, on many occasions if paying by cash would make the price better. I have always been able to reply, “no, we work above board and feel this is the best way to serve our clients”. I don’t believe I have ever lost a client by being honest and if I have, they were not the type of client with whom we wish to do business. Please remember, it is best to choose a renovator/contractor who collects and pays taxes or else you could find yourself mid-job when the company runs into the Canadian Revenue Agency or financial trouble and can no longer finish.

Typically, when you deal with a company or individual who does not collect or remit taxes there will be a lack of official paper communication. Here is what you risk:

  1. No permit: no municipal inspection and no oversight for your project
  2. No invoice: no paper trail and, usually, no warranty
  3. No signed contract: potential disagreements may become your word against theirs
  4. No liability insurance: you could become responsible if something goes wrong and this could void your home insurance
  5. No workers compensation: you could be held accountable for worker’s injuries and be subject to personal lawsuits

Something you must ask yourself when you hire a renovator/contractor who will work for cash is, “if this person is willing to cheat the government and lie on their tax forms, when will they cheat and lie to me?”. It is not a matter of if but simply a matter of when you will be cheated.

I hope you have found this article informative and not overly dogmatic. I want the public to be informed and protect themselves from people and companies who could possibly do them harm. Please hire a reputable company, have signed contracts, ask for references, and ask for proof of insurance.

Dan Monk, P.Eng. / Red Seal Carpenter