I’m going to skip the traditional tax complaining this year. We all know that the personal income tax is a fraud, never ratified, evil abuse of power, inspired by Satan to destroy America and only goes to pay interest on the national debt, etc, etc, etc. I agree. Having said that I also fully comply by paying the IRS every penny I owe.
As a consultant I work for several companies. Some of the work is interesting and a professional challenge, some is boring but it pays. One client (boring but pays) I’ve had for over 7 years is RQA inc. In that time they have generally been a decent, if small account.
Last year they became the customer from hell. A typical call for a project from RQA last year went something like this.
Late afternoon the day before they want the project started.
RQA: “Res save us you’re our only hope we need you to do a compliance check at 77 locations throughout the state of Wyoming and have the data Fed Ex’d back by Mon am. We’ll pay you $6 a location and 28 cents a mile”.
RES: “You’re out of your mind, do you know how big WY is? Send me your locations and I’ll quote the job”
RQA: “OK, its state wide”
Side note: The area covered the entire state of WY, get out your map start in
RES’s Quote: I need $35 an hour estimated time 40 to 55 hours, no cap if road conditions are bad. 38.5 cents per mile, estimated miles 1,800 no cap for actual miles driven $100 for hotels and $100 per diem plus a cash advance for repurchase of merchandise, 100% expense reimbursement.
RQA: “you’re our hero, we’ll send out the kit and your advance, just get the job done and returned by Monday.”
What happened. Staring 8 am Friday morning I made the run and covered the entire state of WY in less than 72 hours tracking down every location, including ones that were dude ranches 100 miles from town. All of this in spite of a major snow storm in the mountains. I submitted my bill, and receipts and I waited. And waited and waited.
Since I had a 7 year history with the client I performed 4 more jobs in the next 60 days even though I hadn't been paid. After my bill was 180 days old and I was sending nasty letters and threatening to sue, I got a check, for $6 per location and expenses.
Fast forward to Feb 2006. The 1099 from RQA shows up. Lets just say its wrong, way wrong. They 1099’d me on every dime that I ever saw from them, mileage money, expenses, the few bucks they actually did pay me, even the cash they advanced to repurchase product. In short, not only have they screwed me on payment, they reported earnings that never happened.
I almost forgot. Since I didn’t make quarterly payments on the alleged income from RQA, I’m going to be in trouble for non compliance and its going to cost me some penalties too. The reason I didn’t pay on it was simple: I didn’t see any cash till the end of Q3 and Q4 and at that point the money received wasn’t enough to pay my actual costs. It wasn’t enough to be a profit for the work preformed, therefore was non taxable.
So this year I’m blowing perfectly good money on tax advice to help me fix this. If you ever get a chance to work for RQA, don’t.