Re: Independent but not really independent
Surely not in this case. The transaction between the customer and the taxi firm is done by Uber/Lyft. That means they are their customers (not the drivers') and they have the legal contract with said customers. Thus sales tax should be levied on that transaction. And I can't fucking believe any accountant could say anything else. And they should be prosecuted for fraud, and their auditors should also have picked up on this and should be fined for professional negligence.
I've no idea how the levy for drivers works. So don't know if that's also an obvious slam-dunk.
But the sales tax thing is quite extraordinary!
Apart from anything else, if the transaction was truly the other way round, the driver was actually a real contractor, and the customer was paying the driver - and then Uber/Lyft took a cut from said driver then Uber/Lyft wouldn't owe any sales tax to the government. Sales tax isn't like VAT. You don't levy it on business-to-business transactions and then reclaim it, you just never pay it. Makes the paperwork easier, but also makes it easier to defraud the system. So the system would then work, driver bills customer, adds sales tax and passes on to government. Then pays cut to Uber/Lyft.
So I'm totally astonished how they could get away with this obvious fraud for so long. Particularly as the norm in the US is to show prices without sales tax included, and people just get used to everything being 6-10% more expensive when tney come to pay for it.