Character and Fitness Issue

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shandilee
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Character and Fitness Issue

Postby shandilee » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:39 pm

I have to admit when I applied to law school I was completely ignorant about how in-depth the character and fitness process was going to be. I applied to law school on the day the application was due and just shot off a resume without much thought. What worries me is I had been a working as a nanny/babysitter for the past couple years during undergrad. It was completely casual work and never really amounted to much income. I found all my jobs on a "casual work registry" that my college had so people could find students to work for cheap.

On my resume I submitted with my law school application I had listed "nanny" in the "work experience" section. I never claimed the income on my taxes, it was all under-the-table. So now it is on the record when the character and fitness committee reviews my law school application. Have I destroyed my chances for ever passing the character and fitness evaluation? I still have to file taxes for 2008 so I can claim my income for the past year but I am not sure if this will carry any weight to prove I meet the character and fitness standards. Any advice?

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby whyamidoingthis » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:41 pm

Work experience doesn't have to be paid. You could always argue that you did it on an unpaid basis.

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Corsair
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby Corsair » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:57 pm

..

Gators08
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby Gators08 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:27 pm

According to the 1040EZ form for 2008 if you are single and had a gross annual income of less than $8,950 than you didn't have to file anyways. If being a nanny was your only job my guess would be you didn't make almost $9k a year, so you would be fine if that was the case.

jpaul09
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby jpaul09 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:37 pm

The not having to file rule only applies if your employer already withheld social security and medicare taxes. (From H&R Block's Web site: You must file a tax return if...You owe taxes for Social Security and Medicare tax on tips you didn't report to your employer or on wages you received from an employer who didn't withhold these taxes.)

I'm assuming the families you babysat for didn't do that. I would check with an accountant -- I don't know how you could file without a W-2 from the families, etc., unless you filed a 1040 as a sole proprietor. (That's what I did with my freelancing income.) At any rate, just check with someone a bit better prepped than us.

Geithner "forgot" to pay his taxes, and he's probably still going to be Treasury Secretary, so I wouldn't freak out too much. Just check to see what your options are -- and keep in mind that the families you babysat for could be affected, too, because they employed you under the table.

Gators08
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby Gators08 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:45 pm

Ok... Looking again I find:

Self-Employment Income

Earnings you received from self-employment are subject to income tax. These earnings include income from baby-sitting and lawn mowing. These earnings are not self-employment income if you provided these services as an employee.

You are taxed on your net earnings (income you received minus any business expenses you are allowed to deduct). For information on what expenses can be deducted, see Publication 535 , Business Expenses. As a self-employed person, you are responsible for keeping records to show how much income you received and how many expenses you had. Your income and expenses are reported on Schedule C or C-EZ (Form 1040). An example of a filled-in Schedule C-EZ appears at the end of this publication.

Self-employment tax
If you had net earnings of $400 or more from self-employment, you also will have to pay self-employment tax. This tax pays for your benefits under the social security system. Social security and Medicare benefits are available to individuals who are self-employed the same as they are to wage earners who have social security tax and Medicare tax withheld from their wages. The self-employment tax is figured on Schedule SE (Form 1040).


From: The IRS Taxable Income for Students Guide
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/students/article/0,,id=96674,00.html

And according to the "Do You Need To File A Federal Income Tax Return?" page at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96623,00.html you do if you did something that makes you considered to be self-employed and earned more than $400 of net income by doing it.

lawisfun22
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby lawisfun22 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:07 pm

Would they really look into this? I though they look for like delinquent debts and stuff like that, not if you filed a tax return for something you listed on work experience.

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srb
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby srb » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:15 pm

Gators08 wrote:According to the 1040EZ form for 2008 if you are single and had a gross annual income of less than $8,950 than you didn't have to file anyways. If being a nanny was your only job my guess would be you didn't make almost $9k a year, so you would be fine if that was the case.


You clearly have never been a nanny. Even just $10 per hour, 10 hrs per day, 5 days per week...$24K per year, which you are pocketing if you are doing it under the table, which many do. And $10 per hour is pretty low for a nanny.

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Corsair
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby Corsair » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:31 pm

..

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srb
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby srb » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:32 pm

Corsair wrote:
srb wrote:
Gators08 wrote:According to the 1040EZ form for 2008 if you are single and had a gross annual income of less than $8,950 than you didn't have to file anyways. If being a nanny was your only job my guess would be you didn't make almost $9k a year, so you would be fine if that was the case.


You clearly have never been a nanny. Even just $10 per hour, 10 hrs per day, 5 days per week...$24K per year, which you are pocketing if you are doing it under the table, which many do. And $10 per hour is pretty low for a nanny.


The OP described it as "casual work" during college. I don't think she meant 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.


Right, but even if it's only full time during summers, and weekend nights during college...quickly adds up

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underdawg
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby underdawg » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:36 pm

ok you are the best nanny

happy?

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srb
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby srb » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:38 pm

:lol:

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:48 pm

You should talk to someone at your school who is knowledgeable such as a prof who teaches PR or the dean of students.

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ggocat
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby ggocat » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:57 pm

You can file amended returns and include the income. (You weren't a dependent on someone else's return, correct? Because then it would be their problem).

Also...

whyamidoingthis wrote:Work experience doesn't have to be paid. You could always argue that you did it on an unpaid basis.

Not a great idea to start off your legal career with a lie to the character and fitness board.

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby whyamidoingthis » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:04 pm

ggocat wrote:Not a great idea to start off your legal career with a lie to the character and fitness board.


No, but I doubt the C&F board is going to call her on it, which is why I said that. Hundreds of thousands of girls (and guys) nanny or babysit casually and I think we would have heard by now if unreported income from part-time babysitting killed anyone's chances at the bar. Just about everyone I know has babysat at some point (some paid, some not) and I don't know anyone who hasn't done it full time that reported it on their taxes. It's like tips, do you really think people have been rejected by the C&F for not reporting their tips when they worked as a waiter? I seriously doubt it.

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ggocat
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby ggocat » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:38 pm

whyamidoingthis wrote:
ggocat wrote:Not a great idea to start off your legal career with a lie to the character and fitness board.


No, but I doubt the C&F board is going to call her on it, which is why I said that. Hundreds of thousands of girls (and guys) nanny or babysit casually and I think we would have heard by now if unreported income from part-time babysitting killed anyone's chances at the bar. Just about everyone I know has babysat at some point (some paid, some not) and I don't know anyone who hasn't done it full time that reported it on their taxes. It's like tips, do you really think people have been rejected by the C&F for not reporting their tips when they worked as a waiter? I seriously doubt it.

Your suggestion that the OP argue it was unpaid work implied that the board would investigate and possibly take disciplinary action.

You might be disciplined for not reporting income on your tax return.
You most definitely will be disciplined if you lie to the board.

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby whyamidoingthis » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:53 pm

ggocat wrote:
whyamidoingthis wrote:
ggocat wrote:Not a great idea to start off your legal career with a lie to the character and fitness board.


No, but I doubt the C&F board is going to call her on it, which is why I said that. Hundreds of thousands of girls (and guys) nanny or babysit casually and I think we would have heard by now if unreported income from part-time babysitting killed anyone's chances at the bar. Just about everyone I know has babysat at some point (some paid, some not) and I don't know anyone who hasn't done it full time that reported it on their taxes. It's like tips, do you really think people have been rejected by the C&F for not reporting their tips when they worked as a waiter? I seriously doubt it.

Your suggestion that the OP argue it was unpaid work implied that the board would investigate and possibly take disciplinary action.

You might be disciplined for not reporting income on your tax return.
You most definitely will be disciplined if you lie to the board.


It was a throwaway line. Seriously dude, I didn't intend to recommend to the OP that she LIE to the board. If I was implying anything, it was only that resumes don't usually identify paid/unpaid work so no one would know for sure whether she had been paid and really would be unlikely to question (not to mention that nannying is frequently "in kind" for room and board, etc which makes it even less likely that someone question it).

Thank you for your very emphatic description of the consequences of lying to the C&F board, I would have never guessed that one would get in trouble for that.

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ggocat
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby ggocat » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:13 am

whyamidoingthis wrote:It was a throwaway line. Seriously dude, I didn't intend to recommend to the OP that she LIE to the board. If I was implying anything, it was only that resumes don't usually identify paid/unpaid work so no one would know for sure whether she had been paid and really would be unlikely to question (not to mention that nannying is frequently "in kind" for room and board, etc which makes it even less likely that someone question it).

Thank you for your very emphatic description of the consequences of lying to the C&F board, I would have never guessed that one would get in trouble for that.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you about whether the board would investigate/discipline. I have no idea whether they would investigate/discipline. My gut reaction is that they would not investigate, but they would discipline if they knew OP had income and did not pay tax, especially if OP had a basis for believing that tax should have been paid. IMHO, it reflects poorly on a person's character and fitness if they conceal income because they don't think they will be caught.

But what's your basis for thinking otherwise? A similar gut feeling? Have you taken professional responsibility?

Also, it's possible the IRS would consider room and board for a nanny as income to the nanny if the nanny is not being compensated with income in addition to the room and board. Barter transactions are still taxed. Have you taken an income tax course?

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whyamidoingthis
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby whyamidoingthis » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:27 am

ggocat wrote:
whyamidoingthis wrote:It was a throwaway line. Seriously dude, I didn't intend to recommend to the OP that she LIE to the board. If I was implying anything, it was only that resumes don't usually identify paid/unpaid work so no one would know for sure whether she had been paid and really would be unlikely to question (not to mention that nannying is frequently "in kind" for room and board, etc which makes it even less likely that someone question it).

Thank you for your very emphatic description of the consequences of lying to the C&F board, I would have never guessed that one would get in trouble for that.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you about whether the board would investigate/discipline. I have no idea whether they would investigate/discipline. My gut reaction is that they would not investigate, but they would discipline if they knew OP had income and did not pay tax, especially if OP had a basis for believing that tax should have been paid. IMHO, it reflects poorly on a person's character and fitness if they conceal income because they don't think they will be caught.

But what's your basis for thinking otherwise? A similar gut feeling? Have you taken professional responsibility?

Also, it's possible the IRS would consider room and board for a nanny as income to the nanny if the nanny is not being compensated with income in addition to the room and board. Barter transactions are still taxed. Have you taken an income tax course?


sigh...throwaway line...

lawisfun22
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby lawisfun22 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:40 am

What do you guys mean when you say discipline?

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AR75
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby AR75 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:42 am

NOUN: 1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

The Agitator
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby The Agitator » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:20 am

You will be fine. People get in with multiple arrests all the time. If they ask, just admit you didn't pay taxes because it didn't cross your mind at the time. You can always file amended returns and just pay the extra $150 or whatever in taxes that you estimate you owe.

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addendum boy
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby addendum boy » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:35 am

I am amazed at the length of this thread

upgrade
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby upgrade » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:04 pm

I would guess this posting would cause you more harm than a line on your resume when compared to your tax returns. Does the C&F panel have a way to acquire your tax returns?

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ancientone
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Re: Character and Fitness Issue

Postby ancientone » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:08 pm

OP, relax. I know how it is to freak out about this stuff, but they're not going to look into it. I had a similar magnitude C&F issue, finally talked to the dean of admissions about it, and she was quite obviously trying not to laugh at me. As in, "Wow, are you seriously worried about this?"

Of course, if I'm wrong, you're fucked. 8)




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