Over the long weekend, a vigilante gang of keyboard warriors launched a campaign to report random internet strangers to the IRS for tax evasion, using the hashtag #thotaudit. The snitch crusade is ostensibly geared at making sure that hot women aren't making money off their hotness without giving the government a cut.
"Raise your hand if you agree instagram models and snapchat queens should pay their taxes just like the rest of us," tweeted the right-wing gadfly Jack Posobiec in one typical example of the genre.
Where to begin with the grossness and pointlessness of these pursuits?
There's the libertarian angle of course: What kind of bootlicking busybodies spend their spare time worrying about whether individual strangers are paying enough in taxes, much less take the time to report them?
Then there's the ignorance. Plenty of solo sex workers, adult entertainers, and models do pay taxes, just like other independent contractors, and it's silly to assume that just because someone is employed in a stigmatized industry they must also be skirting the law. Sex workers have the same incentives as everyone else to stay on the good side of Uncle Sam.
Surely some sex workers—like self-employed workers in many industries—do underreport or altogether avoid taxes. But somehow, the prospect of tax-dodging Airbnb hosts, YouTubers, freelance writers, and others hasn't spurred the online audit squad to action. And the decision to target only women making a living off their looks smacks of straight-up sexism, not a neutral, civic-minded concern with IRS evasion.
Lest there was any question about this, the hashtag gives away the game. Thot has several purported definitions, but all of them mean "ho." It's also a word used primarily in black communities, so its sudden adoption by the largely white conservative "thot auditors" feels more like deliberate mockery than casual cultural cross-pollination.
#ThotAudit bad news, boys. "Solid information", not "unsupported speculation" Grow old and celibate in your mom's basement waiting for your government handout. https://t.co/88nk922cJ4 pic.twitter.com/ehQIN7lz6t— Mistress Matisse (@mistressmatisse) November 25, 2018
Lastly, there's the futility of the whole business. Blogger Roosh V, who was one of the men leading the #thotaudit charge, pointed his followers to a page of the IRS website for reporting tax evaders, even suggesting that the feds might reward them for rounding up hoes. But the page presents some pretty obvious problems for Roosh and his gang.
First, reporting someone requires you to know a lot about the person you're turning in, including her full name and address—information random dudes online aren't likely to have for the ladies they're tattling on. So even if they correctly pinpoint a sexy-snap seller who's not reporting her income properly to authorities, there's little chance they have the right stuff to file a report.
Then, even if they did have all the correct information, there's little likelihood that the IRS would care. The page specifically notes that it's interested in situations involving "a significant Federal tax issue"—i.e., not someone making a few hundred unreported dollars per year selling used underwear and butt selfies. As dominatrix Mistress Matisse put it: "Dudes, they want Donald Trump, they don't want camgirls."
And on the infinitesimally tiny chance the IRS would care, there's almost no chance the person who tipped off the IRS would get a reward. Awards are only paid to people "who provide specific and credible information to the IRS," not those who submit "an 'educated guess' or unsupported speculation."
Who knows if the #thotaudit posters are dumb enough to actually submit tips to the IRS? But their campaign is basically just one more way for people to harass sex workers and other women online.
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