What risk do I have receiving checks for someone else’s work?

Basically, what is happening is that my stepdad owes a lot of taxes and if he reports income or deposits money into a bank account, all of it gets taken by the government so he has been paid in cash by his employer in the past. I know that this is not necessarily legal either but it’s out of my hands. Recently, I have done a couple jobs for my stepdad’s boss for a few hours. I

received checks for these as favors I guess. It was never more than $200 I ever received so I never did a W2 or anything. Now, I am getting more checks with my name on them for my dad’s work and the expectation is that I cash them and give them to my parents. I have cashed 1 of the checks for about$300. Now I am realizing that this doesn’t seem right. They tell me that I can’t get into trouble for this but any way that I think about it, it seems fraudulent and

that I would on the hook after cashing the checks.

Asked on May 24, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are helping your stepfather to commit tax fraud--not just to avoid paying the existing past due taxes, but helping him avoid future taxes, since his income is not being reported as his income. You could potentially face jail time and/or significant fines over this. 
And you may increase your own taxes, since if an employer is sending checks in your name, that will appear to be your income--and hence you will owe taxes on them, if the fraud is not caught and the IRS attributes this to you.
This is a very bad idea.


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