Do I need to give out my social security number to my part-time employer?

I live in my brother’s house rent free (his offer to me to help me get on my feet), since I lost my home and job. I work for my brother as a part-time consultant (no contract). He has been paying me a flat $1,000 per month and has not taken out taxes, social security, benefits, etc. I know I have to pay taxes on this income, and plan on it. I don’t want to cheat my government.Anyway, the problem is, now he wants my SSN, and I really don’t want to give it to him.

Asked on December 7, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues here:

1) If an employer is withholding taxes the way he lawfully MUST do--as well as paying into worker's comp and unemployment--then he needs the social security number of the worker; that's how he makes sure the money is reported property and credited to the correct person.

2) If the employer is not withholding taxes, then he doesn't need the social security number--BUT he is committing tax fraud; the employee may be an accomplice in doing so, if he knowingly helps the employer avoid taxes; and even if the employee doesn't face some liability relating to tax fraud, he will not receive credit for social security or unemployment contributions, among other things. (E.g. if fired or laid off, can't collect unemployment insurance.)


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