Lori St. Kitts is not your typical tax preparer.
While other tax professionals are helping doctors and small businesses, Lori has found a unique niche. She helps escorts and those in related professions to report their income. She’s one of a few in her niche in the United States, and she’s never out of clients.
As the deadline for tax filing draws near, Lori is becoming busier every day. Her hands are quite full right now. She has helped more than a hundred self-employed individuals in professions that are out of the mainstream. That includes a good number of escorts.
To Report or Not to Report
According to Lori, most of her clients are worried that reporting their income to the government might get them into trouble. But Lori reassures them that it is the right thing to do. She tells them that no matter what a person does professionally, following tax rules is a must.
Lori, or Mistress Lori, as she is known to some of her clients, is the expert when it comes to handling tax matters of persons who are in nontraditional lines of work. She has even written a book about the subject.
There is no reliable statistic that covers how much money is spent on the escort service industry in the United States or the other industries that are related to it. Estimates put the number to billions of dollars. Now, more and more people are reporting their income from these billion-dollar industries.
It might seem odd at first that a tax professional would get into the niche that Mistress Lori is in. The truth is that she was also part of one of the industries that she is helping now. Lori used to be a phone operator for adult conversations.
How She Started
She started doing tax prep work but had to quit back in 2005. She then discovered that aside from having a knack for doing tax prep for other people, she also had a talent for something totally different. She learned that her voice was perfect for being an adult phone operator.
Operators work from home, which meant that they spend most of their time alone. They connected with other operators through online forums. Lori saw a question on one of the forums about taxes, which she answered.
It didn’t take long for her to start receiving other similar questions. Soon, she was getting actual requests for tax help.
A Taxing Dilemma
Understandably, many professionals in nontraditional industries have second thoughts about filing returns. Can they really state the source of their income? Wouldn’t reporting their real income get them into trouble?
While it is understandable that they have second thoughts, tax evasion is a much more serious offense, with heftier consequences. Lori helps many of her fellow operators and escorts in understanding the situation that they are in and that it is a lot better for them to be on the safe side when it comes to taxes.
Challenges for Tax Preparation
A major challenge for Lori when helping escorts and other professionals is that many of them only deal with cash. That means most of them do not bother to keep records of the money they are earning. It can also be a challenge to convince many to put aside a portion of what they are earning to pay taxes.
Another challenge that Lori has to deal with is determining the deductions. Legitimate business expenses can be deducted, but in the case of an escort, for example, how can one’s expenses be declared properly? Lori has to navigate through the legalities found in tax laws regarding such matters.
Aside from the legal need of declaring one’s income and paying taxes, there is another, more worrying reason why it should be done. Escorts and other professionals in the nonmainstream industries are left vulnerable if they don’t declare their income properly.
The most serious proof of this vulnerability was the 2018 online campaign that used the hashtag #ThotAudit. This campaign was run by online trolls who threatened women who have online accounts that dealt with adult content.
Because of the popularity of the internet, many adult content workers have turned to create their own content and selling it online. Since they can give access to clients through social media and the payments are not tracked, they don’t really pay taxes.
The campaign was promoted by some influential online personalities, which is why it got some traction. Many of the trolls are men who appear to have banded together against female workers.
Many of the trolls claim that they reached out to the content creators and ask how they can access their content. Once the creator answered with the details of subscription or some other means of accessing the content, they would report them to the IRS. There are those who said that threat was an empty one since the IRS would not bother to go after these online personalities since the amount involved is small still, but it became a trend.
A lot of content creators lost their income because of the online harassment campaign, and it also showed how vulnerable nontraditional professionals are. People can target them and threaten them with reporting to the authorities because it’s common knowledge that they do not pay taxes. The threats can even lead to abuse as trolls can use it to coerce females into doing things in exchange for not revealing their information to the IRS.
The Need for a Niche
This highlights the need for the services offered by people like St. Kitts. They assist workers in becoming compliant with government regulations, and at the same time, they help prevent the harassment of the workers, which can lead easily to abuse.
Escorts and other nontraditional workers need to follow the law when it comes to taxes, and they need all the help they can get to do that. At the same time, they need the protection of the law, just like any other person.