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I may need some help on how to word this question, but essentially I want to know what Toomes' cover was for his career.

Early in the film, we learn his latest construction gig has been taken over by The Department of Damage Control. We see this leads him to go into the illegal arms deal business for 8 years (until the film's present day). Obviously he isn't writing that on his W4.

Theoretically, he could continue what he was doing and get new gigs doing clean-up around the city; however, given that the average foreman salary is around $60,000, this seems unlikely to cover the large amounts of money coming in from the weapons sales. We also learn he lives in a fairly large (for NYC suburb standards) home, owns a fancy car, and puts his child into private school. This would be unusual for someone whose yearly income is in the under $100,000 range.

If his wife, Doris Toomes, was the main breadwinner for the family and the reason for having this plush life (which we do not learn at all in the film), it seems unlikely that Adrian would be so desperate as to do something illegal for his family to make money, since they wouldn't be in a terrible financial situation.

What was Adrian Toomes' job on a tax form?

  • It also seemed, to me, unlikely that he actually would be able to continue being a foreman in NYC for clean-up jobs, since it felt as though The Department of Damage Control was a dominating force taking all opportunities away, but I didn't want to include that in my question in case it was TOO speculative. – Valerie Jul 13 '17 at 18:22
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    Damage Control didn't take all the jobs, only the "special" ones. They were basically the Avengers clean-up crew. – KutuluMike Jul 13 '17 at 20:14
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The movie never goes into detail, but most likely Toomes had a "front" business that he claimed as the source of his income. This problem isn't really very new or unusual -- anyone involved in illegal activities as their primary source of income has to figure it out, and there's certainly plenty of those people. There are, in deed, entire underground industries to support those people, including money laundering, "creative" accountants, etc.

Toome's family thought that he had an important, high-paying job that required him to travel a lot. He could have told him that was some kind of sales person, or that his old business was expanding, or any number of things. And Toomes isn't required to report where he got his money from to the IRS, only how much. If that was all income from businesses, it's going to be self-reported, and as long as he paid his self-employment taxes the IRS would have no reason to suspect anything was off.

Just as a guess, I would expect that Toomes probably kept his cleanup business open, and just supplemented his income with the weapons sales. That would explain why he had all the same crew, warehouse, equipment, etc. that his old job required.

Remember that Damage Control only took over the jobs involving non-human technology. The city granted them exclusive rights to those jobs. The regular demolition and cleanup crews in NYC would keep bidding on all the mundane jobs that were around before the Avengers, so it wouldn't be suspicious at all for Toomes to still have his company and have a bunch of guys on payroll. (For all we know, they kept actually doing that work every so often as a cover.)

  • This all makes sense, but I guess I was hoping there was a cut scene/line or interview that mentioned a specific job he was using as a cover. I feel like someone (the government (or even just family)) would find it odd if he had his normal, probably-not-so-well-paying construction company for mundane jobs, and also a sales job that required lots of travel. It also would be suspicious if a worker on his payroll ended up missing (which happens, since he murdered a man.) – Valerie Jul 13 '17 at 20:31
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    I don't see why any of that would be suspicious. He's the owner of a industrial demolition/cleanup company that obviously takes government jobs. It'd be easy to tell his wife that requires lots of travel -- "Since Damage Control came along we have to go out of state to make $$". And thousands of people go missing daily, one more isn't gonna raise suspicions. – KutuluMike Jul 13 '17 at 21:04

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