By Matthew Capece, Special Representative to the General President.
We are sounding the alarm and letting our fellow citizens know: We are all being fleeced by Construction Industry Tax Fraud.
In recent months UBC Regional Council members have been laying the groundwork for Tax Fraud Days of Action events. More than 100 actions are planned across the United States and Canada. Carpenters, elected officials and allies will be rallying in the District of Columbia, New York City, St. Paul, Sacramento and Toronto among others. Members will be educating lawmakers and the public during lobbying visits, press conferences and rallies. Carpenters will be at post offices, informing taxpayers about tax fraud as they drop off their tax returns. We are sounding the alarm far and wide.
Because all construction contractors should be deducting and paying income taxes. They should be paying employment taxes. They should be paying proper wages and overtime. They should be paying workers’ compensation premiums. Their jobsites should be safe. They should be held to the same standards as law-abiding contractors and their employees instead of being allowed to cheat in order to win work. But more and more they are not, and legitimate contractors and taxpayers are being fleeced along the way.
Now we are letting our fellow citizens know that we will not sit idly by while crooked contractors and labor brokers steal jobs and commit fraud.
Our best estimate, based on studies done at the state level, is that in the U.S. the underground economy in the construction industry (which includes failure to properly withhold state and federal taxes and underpayment of unemployment insurance and workers compensation premiums) amounts to some $148 billion. At least $2.6 billion in state and federal taxes alone go unpaid in the U.S. by crooked construction contractors. In Canada the residential construction industry is the largest contributor to the underground economy there, accounting for just over a quarter of the total, or $13.7 billion.
Taxes build bridges and schools. Taxes pay for our public safety. Taxes protect our country. Taxes help us retire in dignity and provide security for our children. Why shouldn’t we and responsible employers who do the right thing be the ones who prosper? It’s a good question to ask ourselves and our fellow taxpayers.
We will be doing that today, tomorrow and the days after that. We will not stop.
To find out about an event in your state, click on the Events tab at the top of this page.