“I constantly feel like I’m gonna get busted,” she said.

the Financial Madam, under the tagline “bringing your tax liability to its knees.” “Sex workers are no different than any other business, but their deductions are a bit more interesting,” Kitts said, pointing to questions about things like lube and sex toys.

“There is this idea that because they deal in sex that they are all shady and criminals when the truth is that most are just trying to work a legal business under unfair laws and scrutiny.” She says she’s seen “more vanilla businesses try to work around the tax law than sex work businesses.” In fact, Mistress Matisse, a Seattle-based dominatrix, says she shies away from deductions out of fear. With my tax guy I’m like, ‘We are on it.’ I’m very conservative about what I deduct.” Her accountant suggested that she write off her home office—because, as she puts it, “half my house is my office”—but she’s too concerned that it will raise a red flag.

But even with all this guidance it can still be terrifying terrain, especially for those engaging in an illegal trade, and sex worker-friendly CPAs can be hard to come by.

One sex worker who asked to remain anonymous told me that after she was upfront with an accountant about the nature of her work, he wouldn’t stop texting her after-hours. Kitts, the so-called Tax Domme, who has written the book, ”The Tax Domme’s Guide for Sex Workers and All Other Business People.” She was working as a tax preparer and phone sex operator when she noticed financial misinformation being passed around on sex industry message boards.

Fiona Stone, who runs Sex Worker Helpfuls, says the most frequent financial questions she gets is about whether Pay Pal and similar services are “a good, safe option”—she says they aren’t.

Some online payment processors have even seized sex workers’ accounts and put a hold on their funds.“I try not to keep that much (cash) on hand so that I can afford to lose it,” says Mc Neill.“I have a safe, it’s not a big one, I don’t want to keep around more than I can fit in that safe.” The sex work blog “good girls don’t” advises, “one thing you should invest in is a good fire-proof safe.” The post goes on to recommend, “Don’t hide cash in obvious places, like your mattress, the freezer, your toilet tank, and so on.Things that so many people take for granted, from having a bank account to taking out a car loan, can be difficult and unnerving, if not outright impossible, propositions—and they often require guidance.The most fundamental issue is how to deal with large amounts of cash, particularly in escorting.If your work is illegal, do you still pay your taxes?