I've been working on a design project involving income tax, and I'm a big fan of Big Love — so naturally I wonder how a polygamist fills out a 1040. My project has given me a good introduction into some techniques that people in exotic situations use to avoid getting nailed by the IRS, and I wonder which ones are employed by Bill Hendrickson, Big Love's plurally-married husband.So, all you tax protesters out there, tell me how this guy does it … On the surface, the Hendricksons are typical suburbanites, living in a subdivision with manicured lawns and white picket fences and SUVs, continually weaving a protective cloak of lies when it comes to dealing with the rest of the world, hiding the fact that three seemingly independent families living side-by-side are actually one large, plurally married family. The husband, Bill, owns a Home-Depot-style super-store, so clearly he's got some income, in addition to a variety of avenues to shelter that income. Each of the three wives lives in her own house. Bill lives with the first wife, Barb, and the other two wives — Nikki and Margie — live in the houses adjacent to Bill and Barb. Nikki and Margie both work part time, but they clearly don't earn enough to cover living expenses — rent, taking care of the kids, etc. We can assume that Bill owns all three houses. Maybe he "rents" houses to Nikki and Margie for a very reduced rate, and perhaps he also pays them a salary to be babysitters, or house cleaners? Still, you'd think that this sort of situation would be suspicious to the IRS, especially since they live in Salt Lake.You'd also think that the Internet would have a lot of information about how polygamists can avoid income taxes, but, if it's there, it's not easily Google-able. How Stuff Works actually has an article called "How Polygamy Works," which includes this bit:
The economics of polygamy can be hard on the families as well. Colorado City, Arizona, a strict polygamist enclave, suffers from severe poverty. The families are simply not able to make enough money to support all their wives and children. They rely heavily on welfare, and in some cases commit welfare fraud. The problem is so severe that Colorado City and similar communities put a serious strain on state welfare systems.
It would be even more suspicious, I would guess, if they collected welfare while living in a fancy subdivision. So: Who has some insight here? How do they do it?