Is the phrase " Black market " correct? Meaning illegal or undeclared work and are there any other words or phrases, that are used to describe this kind of work or jobs?


"Black market" is a broad term, usually meaning trade of illicit goods or bypassing legal channels in trade of restricted goods.

The terms you're looking for are Unreported employment, "working under the table", being paid cash-in-hand or moonlighting, a domain of Grey economy - activities that could be legal if passed through legal channels, but due to, e.g. tax evasion, constitute illegal activity.


The black market is as its name suggests, a market; somewhere specific goods or services are exchanged outside the eyes of the law.

The black economy or underground economy is broader, and includes cash-in-hand and other undeclared income sources, which is more in line with what you mean I think.

definition: The part of a country's economic activity which is unrecorded and untaxed by its government.


Illegal work in itself is not black marketing so they cannot be used interchangeably.

Any other words for it - unauthorized work smuggling in some cases

  • The question might be whether "black market" work and "illegal work" are interchangeable.
    – jimsug
    May 14 '14 at 13:44
  • But smuggling is selling products or other things, stolen for example, not to do with work or job itself, or?
    – Zana
    May 14 '14 at 14:36
  • @jimsug how can those to phrases be interchangeable?
    – Zana
    May 14 '14 at 14:37
  • that is precisely why I used "in some cases" next to it as it is illegal work and also falls under black marketing.
    – Invoker
    May 14 '14 at 14:38

Black market indicates the trades of goods (sometimes services) in a non-regulated market outside the view of legal and legislating instances, which means that not only are (some) taxes unlikely to be paid, but other legal details may be overlooked as well (consumer protection, anti-trust legislation, warranty, etc.)

This kind of market operates usually illegally, but not all illegal work or work that is not declared for the taxes would be considered as part of a black market, or a black market in their own right.

Note that not declaring proceeds from work for tax purposes can be illegal, but that does not mean the work itself has to be illegal:

If I sell drugs, in many countries that is illegal work.

If I paint your house and I do not declare my revenue, the work was not illegal.

  • "Overseen" is probably the opposite of what you meant there. Perhaps you wanted to say "overlooked"?
    – Alexander
    May 14 '14 at 13:31
  • Yes, thank you very much. Every once in a while one of those stupid Dutchisms slips in :(
    – oerkelens
    May 14 '14 at 13:33
  • So how would you call a job, when you dont claim the revenue?
    – Zana
    May 14 '14 at 14:34
  • @Zana: not declaring it for tax purposes is not the same as not claiming the revenue :) Not claiming the revenue I would call a favour, but that is beside the point :)
    – oerkelens
    May 14 '14 at 14:42
  • @oerkelens: yes, it could be classified as a favour. :-)
    – Zana
    May 14 '14 at 14:58

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