This article reveals as many as 20 of the best getting paid under the table pros and cons, to help you decide if this is something for you or not.

And yes, some of the pros and cons are absolutely worth knowing before delving into getting paid under the table!


Why Consider Getting Paid Under the Table?

There are not too many individuals or families that can boast of being self-sufficient.

In most instances, payments need to be made for clothes, food, services, jobs accomplished, etc.

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There are a variety of ways in which services can be provided without the exchange of money.

One of those ways is through the bartering system in which you provide a service in exchange for another service that is rendered to you.

An example would be having someone do your lawn in exchange for doing their laundry.

The primary system of paying for a service is through cash, credit card, or check.

A prime example would be working for an employer in which you submit a timesheet, and you are paid for the hours worked and agreed upon at an hourly rate.

Another way that an individual can get paid for a job done is known as paying “under the table.”

With this system there is no record of the transaction as the payment is made in cash.

In other words, there is no paperwork, no check issued, and the amount of money is provided with no deductions removed from the gross pay.

Let us take a peek under the table and view this transaction and weigh the pros and cons.


Personal Story

When getting ready to deploy overseas there were a variety of tasks that needed to be accomplished especially if a sailor had a family that they were leaving behind for some time.

Typically the military individual would make arrangements with the disbursing officer to have a certain amount deducted from their paycheck which would be directly deposited into the family’s bank account.

That way the family would be taken care of financially.

Also, the sailor would keep a certain amount back for themselves to utilize when they were overseas.

Often this money was utilized to have a meal out or purchase items that they saw when on liberty call.

Every two weeks the announcement over the ship’s intercom system would announce payday and we would all stand in line to receive the allocation that we had made arrangements for.

We were not paid with a check but each of us was given cash and it was counted out before us based on what we had chosen to keep back from our paycheck while overseas.

This method was convenient as we didn’t have to worry about doing any banking overseas or trying to get a check cashed.


10 Best Getting Paid Under the Table Pros


1. Larger Paychecks

When getting paid in cash typically the amount that you receive will be more than what would be reflected on a regular paycheck.

This is due to the reality that your employer or the person that is paying you does not take out any deductions as required by law when payroll checks are issued.

Those deductions include payroll taxes, state taxes, federal taxes, etc.

Receiving more money is an added plus.


2. Flexible Schedule

When you receive a paycheck from an employer this generally requires that you submit a timecard, and then get paid for the hours that you work.

By being paid in cash you are not bound to a set schedule as to when you should work and when you are not required to work.


3. More Freedom

Additionally, as a cash job the individual paying you in cash will most likely not ask you to account for your time when you are not available or don’t show up for work.

Therefore, you can work when you want and how often as you like and are not bound to a set schedule because there are no employer requirements.


4. The Process is Not as Rigid

When getting paid in cash the process involved is usually informal and less documentation and requirements need to be met.

Specifically, being paid in cash doesn’t require being employed in the traditional way which includes an application process, interview, filling out paperwork, etc.

In addition to the system of traditional employment not being as rigid, it is also a positive method of getting paid if one is concerned about giving out their personal information.


5. Paid Right Away

One major benefit of getting paid in cash is that you do not have to wait for a certain time to receive your payroll check.

Generally, when you are paid in cash you are paid right away for the work that you perform.

Also, the cash can be put right into your pocket, and you don’t have to worry about depositing the money and having to wait for any checks to clear.


6. Accurate Accounting

For the employer when paying by cash, there are minimal accounting errors because of the simplicity of paying in cash.

The simplicity is that if an individual agrees to be paid $12 an hour and works eight hours there is no need to figure out any deductions or make sure that these deductions are accurately reflected.

The reality is the payment would be a straight $96.


7. Avoiding Lawsuits

When paying by cash a benefit to the employer is less of a possibility of lawsuits.

Specifically, lawsuits can arise when an individual does not feel that they are getting paid for all of the hours that they work.

Whereas in the case of being paid cash the hours are set as well as the hourly rate and there are no variances at all that can result in lawsuits being filed against the company for pay withheld.


8. No Contributions to Retirement

Another benefit realized by the employer as it relates to paying in cash is that they don’t have to worry about paying the employee any retirement benefits.

By being paid in cash these workers are not classified as traditional employees and any benefits that the company offers to traditional employees as it relates to retirement are not required to be paid or for the individual to be part of the retirement system.

Related: Benefits and Significance of Retirement Planning.


9. Less Paperwork

As the old axiom goes time is money and money is time.

When employing traditional employees there is a time factor involved as it relates to paperwork and the processing of that paperwork.

When paying a worker in cash paperwork is extremely minimal and therefore time consumption by human resources is nonexistent as it relates to the paperwork required by the cash employee.


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10. Fewer Adjustments in Accounting Software  

One of the potential disadvantages that are positive when hiring a cash employee or when utilizing a cash employee is accounting software.

Traditional employees can fill out a W-4 which relates to the number of exceptions that they wish to claim and therefore informs the amount of money that is withheld from their paycheck.

With a cash employee, there is no withholding or W-4 form to fill out and therefore the involvement of accounting and possible adjustments are extremely minimal or nonexistent.


10 Best Getting Paid Under the Table Cons


1. No Benefits

One of the most significant disadvantages of getting paid cash is that any earnings are not reported to the government.

When an individual is paid a salary, the employer will provide a check from the company’s checking account.

With an employee, some deductions are taken out of the gross income.

These deductions are for health insurance, retirement plans, Medicare, etc.

Therefore, if an individual is paid in cash there are no deductions and there are no benefits that are paid based on these earnings.


2. Less Accountability

When it comes to being paid in cash employees are not subject to working a certain number of hours per week.

Their work may be on an as-needed basis or part-time.

Consequently, when being paid in cash the cash paid can fluctuate anywhere from nothing to being paid more money.

This then provides less accountability when a worker is paid cash and it is difficult to hold them accountable because there are no disciplinary consequences for not working enough time.


3. No Record of Employment History

A considerable positive action when working for a paycheck is that there is an employment history that is created.

If an individual works for cash with no paystub there is no record or evidence of employment history.

This could prove to be difficult if an individual is looking to work at a different job that will be classified as traditional to account for the lapses in working time.

Also See: How to Save Money from a Paycheck.


4. Training Opportunities Minimal

As a cash employee, there is no reason to invest in the employee as it relates to additional training that would help them to be a more effective employee.

Therefore, one of the negatives of being paid in cash is that the commitment of an employer to train their employees is negated and therefore the individual paid in cash will miss out on training opportunities.

These training opportunities will enhance their basic skills and would eventually translate into higher wages.


5. Less Opportunity for Promotion

As an individual working for a company but receiving cash for payment it would be difficult for that individual to be promoted.

This difficulty lies in the fact that there is no documentation of the individual working within the business or organization and therefore there is no documented proof of their ability to be given more responsibility through the process of being promoted.


6. Inconsistent

Another negative aspect of working for cash is that the work needed to be done may be inconsistent.

Sporadic work translates into a sporadic paycheck and the amount can vary from the amount paid to the next payday for the individual.

With this inconsistency, it would be difficult to budget because there is no expected amount paid for each period.


7. Minimal Savings

Without the added benefits of a company that are typically paid to an employee, this means that more money will come, eventually, out of your pocket for those benefits.

Typically, a company will pay for medical insurance or a percentage which means that this money that can go into your pocket may need to be spent on obtaining medical benefits.

Also, a “regular” employee has their payroll taxes taken out of their check.

Companies match a certain percentage of this amount with the remainder being the responsibility of the worker.

By working for cash, you will be responsible to pay the entire amount of taxes as it relates to your work.


8. Difficult to Track

One of the disadvantages of getting paid in cash is that unless there are some forms of documentation involved in the process it would be difficult to keep track of payments.

This could be an issue as it relates to budgeting and where to expense out these items as it relates to accounting.


9. May Require Special Reporting  

Although legal, a wary eye may be cast by IRS and may require special reporting if there are unusual or higher amounts of money paid out.


10. Security  

Another issue or disadvantage as it relates to paying out in cash is that the use of currency can be a temptation for some individuals.

This can occur when an individual is paid in cash and the temptation of others to steal what isn’t theirs.

Also, when disbursing the cash there needs to be a system of accountability adhered to.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting Paid Under the Table FAQs


Do I Have to Pay Taxes if I Get Paid in Cash?

According to H&R Block even though you get paid in cash you still need to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes.


Can You Ask an Employer to Pay You in Cash?

According to it is not illegal for individuals to be paid in cash

However, as outlined above there are a variety of negative implications as it relates to paying cash, and specifically it may complicate the area of determining the accurate amount for payroll taxes.



There are many pros and cons as it relates to both the employer and the individual receiving cash or money for work accomplished.

When deciding whether you wish to get paid in cash or not it is important to weigh the pros and cons and decide based on what is in your best interest.

The basic belief and financial trust demonstrated is when an individual provides a product or service they expect to be paid.

There are many different methods of payment.

Those methods of payment can be through a barter system, paying an individual with a product or service when a service is provided, or the payment to the individual with money.

Three main actions involved with paying an individual in money can either be through a credit card, check, or cash.

As it relates to employment the generally accepted method of paying an employee or someone who works for you to accomplish a job is through a payroll check.

However, there are options available that involve paying an individual in cash.

Of course, as with all things, there are pros and cons.

It is best to weigh out your options, but the most important thing is that you get paid for a job well done.

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Apart from being a seasoned Personal Finance expert who has written for top publications around the world, I bring significant personal financial experience. Long story short... through bad financial choices... I found myself $100,000 plus in debt. I was able to dissolve this indebtedness and regain financial solvency. This financial turn around was accomplished through reading, studying and implementing a financial plan. My financial plan included paying down my debt through budgeting, being cognizant of where my financial resources were being spent, changing my attitude about money and understanding the binding chains of the improper use of credit. Today, and for 10 years, I have been debt free and have invested wisely to enjoy my current retirement. This is allowing me to write to help others make, save and grow money wisely!