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AIBU to think 'middle Britain' VAT/Tax dodgers ARE a big problem

(84 Posts)
rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 10:33:10

as well as big companies legally avoiding tax and fraudulent benefit claimants. That they are not mutually exclusive and headlines/artcles like this one (link) support middle Britain evading tax on the premise that there are bigger fish to fry.

AIBU to think it's actually hypocritical that many people dodge VAT/TAX etc but will happily wave around phrases like benefit scrounger or get incensed by large corporations legally avoiding tax.

Disclaimer: I don't read the Daily Express but saw this headline grabber whilst in the newsagent!

Backtobedlam Tue 22-Jan-13 10:41:07

The difficulty is though a lot of plumbers/electricians and other cash in hand workers may put a few jobs through and not declare them, but the cost of investigating and prosecuting would far outweigh any costs they would recoup, plus its something that would be hard to prove in court. At this time I don't think it's a viable way of doing things. I also think that getting some tax from them is better than driving them out of business and getting nothing at all.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 10:44:23


Good points. Although I have no doubt if they choose to pay the legally required amount of tax or always charge VAT they wouldn't be driven out of business

flatpackhamster Tue 22-Jan-13 11:59:12

You 'have no doubt' that's the case, do you? Tell me about your small business, and what makes you such an expert on the conditions for the self-employed.

The problem is fiscal incontinence. The government takes twice as much tax now as it did before Evil Labour came to power.

PessaryPam Tue 22-Jan-13 12:38:45

Obviously ''middle Britain' are the main problem. Without them the country would function brilliantly. Oh hang on..........

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 13:19:22


I do have a small business but for obvious reason will not divulge the details on here. I am self employed and have been for quite some time.

The thing is if the business doesn't work without getting paid cash in hand to evade tax, it doesn't work. It's not a perk of the self employed to pay less tax is it?

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 13:20:53

Pessary Pam

I have no idea what you are replying to.

PessaryPam Tue 22-Jan-13 14:29:34

I am replying to your 'lets bash middle Britain people' post love.

SarahBumBarer Tue 22-Jan-13 14:36:52

Have some sympathy with your point OP particularly re the hypocrisy. However while you might have some experience of running your own business but you can't say that you have "no doubt" that someone would not be driven out of business. 20% of profits make make all the difference eg between being able to buy an old van to clean windows etc or accept you can't get around your customers and therefore sign on.

Disclaimer - I'm PAYE btw - I get taxed on everything and TBH I bloody resent paying a ton of tax only for half a ton of it to go on servicing a bloody great big debt. Fair enough if it were all being ploughed back into education or healthcare or infrastructure as in Australia.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 14:39:03

Where have I bashed middle Britain? I am saying that's it's wrong to evade tax who ever you are and that it shouldn't be ok for middle Britain just as it's not ok for the rest of the country.

No need to patronise with the 'love'

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 14:45:45


For some businesses that are not profitable they might go out of business but MANY don't evade tax to stop themselves going out of business do they. And certainly many people who agree to pay cash to avoid VAT are not doing it because they are on the bread line, they do it because they want a cheap deal.

It's the entitlement of these people that annoys me, it's like they are saying it's ok for me to evade tax illegally and in the same breath moan and complain about other sections of society doing it.

It's all wrong.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 14:48:44

Actually you could argue that small businesses that evade tax through cash deals are in fact putting ore honest companies out of business because they will have an unfair advantage to charge less and win more work.

I try to avoid taking cash, I get charged to bank it, and few small businesses are smaller than mine!

Corygal Tue 22-Jan-13 15:17:39

Practically everyone I know is self employed and I don't know anyone who dodges tax by cash in hand payments.

I'm not sure how common it really is. No one can be, come to that. Could it be perhaps that the govt is trying to distract attention from the tax-dodgers they meet at dinner parties? Those oh-so corporate middle classes?

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 15:54:17

Some of the replies on this thread are only serving to prove me right that there is some hypocrisy out there.

Some of the replies include; Tax evasion by Middle England is necessary or small businesses will fold, it doesn't really happen that much (yeah right) or mention it and you are having a go at middle Britain and after all Britain would be on it's knees without middle Britain. How self righteous!

It's exactly these kind of attitudes I find so hypocritical. Benefit scroungers = bad Rich not paying taxes = bad Middle Britain doing exactly the same thing excuse excuse excuse.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 15:55:16


That sucks that you are charged to bank cash.

allgoingtoshitnow Tue 22-Jan-13 15:55:37

In the past I've had plumbers, electricians and gardeners all take cash in hand. Its only when they work for a big company (say British Gas) where they are above board and that's normally because they are earning a salary rather than self employed.

One of the great things about self employment in a trade is the tax 'efficiency'. I thought everyone knew that?

yohohoho Tue 22-Jan-13 15:58:29

As you have a small business you would know all about business bank account charges, surely.

Tax tax tax, I'm trying to fill out my self assessment, first time, if they wrote the bloody thing in English I might stand a chance.

I'm having a rant and a stomp, then I'm having a brew and a fag then I might look up how to become an accountant in 10 easy steps!!!

Sorry no answer for you OP.

MrsPear Tue 22-Jan-13 16:05:22

I am self employed too and i have lost count of potential clients that we have lost as we want the money to go through the banking system - we construct basements so we are talking big projects for people with lots of money. So all i am saying is don't assume that it is always the builder ...

paying/being paid in cash doesn't necessarily mean it's off the books though.

Kahlua4me Tue 22-Jan-13 16:11:42

allgoingto lots of trades are above board in my experience, not only if working for a big company!
Have you seen the forms we have to complete for HMRC and the penalties if caught. They scare the living day lights out of me so all our work is above board.
We work really hard and all is declared. We were investigated a few years ago simply because they picked a particular trade in a particular part of the country and that included us, it was quite frightening to have them looking through everything with a magnifying glass. Luckily we are above board and have an excellent accountant so all was good.
Yes there are some rogue traders around and yes some of them no doubt claim benefits too but that doesn't mean we all do!

FrankellyMyDearIDontGiveADamn Tue 22-Jan-13 16:15:56

Surely if you structure your business efficiently you can minimise your tax liability legally? Disclaimer - I'm only studying a basic business studies module so could be way off the truth with that statement!

I know a builder who was in partnership with his brother (a decorator). By splitting the partnership up they are both able to not charge VAT to their customers as the two separate turnovers are below the VAT threshold. As a result they both have more work as some clients were being put off having work done because of the VAT charge

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:16:55

Mrs Pear,
I totally agree it's definitely not always the builder

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:18:47


It makes sense to structure the business to minimise tax. I am definitely referring to tax evasion here rather than avoidance.

Adversecamber Tue 22-Jan-13 16:19:06

I know three people with businesses. One has not dodged a penny ever. One does not put small jobs under 500 through the books and one is a terrible tax evader so quite a spread. I am related to one of them and the other two are builders married to good friends.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:20:02


I definitely sympathise with bank charges. Credit cards charges are mahoosive for me.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:20:56


Out of interest what do you think about the 2 that evade tax?

Scrazy Tue 22-Jan-13 16:27:28

I think this too and have often said it's the business owing tory supporters who are hiding money from the tax/vat man that are the first to condemn benefit 'scroungers' who probably live on less than they are fleecing the government of each week. Sooner we do away with cash the better.

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 22-Jan-13 16:32:35

everyone pays as little tax/vat as they can get away with. It's just a fact of life. That extends right from the bottom to the top of the heap. The only difference is that the figures at the top of the heap are far larger than the other.

So I agree that YANBU to think that it is hypocritical. My mother gets incensed about tax avoidance but happily buys stuff online vat free and was very disappointed when she could no longer gets her vitamins from Guernsey. She did not get the irony at all

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:37:24


I don't think you can pigeon hole tax evading middle classes into Tory supporters but I agree there will be all different political party supporters illegally evading tax in one breath and moaning about benefit scroungers in the other.

There are also people buying counterfeit goods in one hand (costing millions to the tax payer and legitimate businesses) and being vocal about boycotting Starbucks on the other.

Of course many people in middle Britain don't any of these things or moan about benefit recipients but I don't see or hear the middle British Tax evaders being tarred with any sort of negativity unlike the unfortunate repercussions that legitimate benefit recipients of honest tax paying bankers receive in this country. Why?

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:40:29


There is a difference in my opinion with paying as little as you can legally get away with and doing something illegal. It's an open theft and many middle British turn a complete blind eye, especially if there's something in it for them and then vilify other groups within our society for doing the same thing.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:42:49


The figures individually are much smaller than those at the top but collectively they are huge. In addition the figures at the bottom for things like benefit fraud are not much different than those middle earners evading tax or buying counterfeit but we all know who gets the bad press. It's hypocritical and the link to the Express sums up the attitude in this country.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:44:28

IMHO HMRC should stop taking free lunches from big business and go for the offshored profits - ESPECIALLY the ones that were ruled illegal like VodaFone.
The £6,000,000,000.00 that Dave Hartnett allowed them to not pay is rather more than most cash in hand builders.
Or the £750,000,000.00 that Goldman Sachs were let off after offering him a job and taking him to lunch.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:48:50


Benefit fraud is also small fry compared to that but I don't see anyone saying leave them alone.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:49:53

PS - the reason builders like cash in hand is to avoid having to charge VAT.
Large house - builders have ensured the Government has arranged it so that they do not have to charge VAT (but can reclaim it)
THAT is hypocrisy.

PPS - the reason homeowners are able to pay builders cash in hand is because the whole Money Laundering System is arse about face.
I suggestsed to the HMRC man who did my MLR inspection that they should clamp down on builders' merchants receiving cash .... often in bundles of £20's straight from the homeowners savings account.
That was far too logical for them.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:50:35


Although I agree with you they should do that but I have never said they shouldn't. The issues are not mutually exclusive though.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 16:52:38

Rotten when I see somebody prosecuted for a £5,000 benefit fraud and know that the lawyers fees to do so came to £25,000 (paid for by the taxpayer) I come firmly to the conclusion that ALL prosecutions for benefit fraud are a waste of time and money.
Stop them getting what they have had in error and stop them getting the same one again, but stop making lawyers rich to make poor people poorer.

LabelsGalore Tue 22-Jan-13 16:55:57

certainly many people who agree to pay cash to avoid VAT are not doing it because they are on the bread line, they do it because they want a cheap deal.

So in effect if people were happy to refuse to pay cash in exchange of a 20% reduction in price, this wouldn't happen.
Except that the person paying the tax isn't the self-employed person here but the customer. Who wants a cheap deal and doesn't want to pay 20% more...

Of course, the trader can refuse and accept to see his potential customer to go away and lose the job. Or they might be scared that they won't get another deal and will be very short of cash so they say yes.

This of course doesn't apply to the ones who do not declare some cash payment wo the knowledge of the customer

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 16:57:00


I agree that is crazy but it also costs us inordinate amounts to prosecute and lock up all criminals, it what we do to attempt to keep things in order. the moment we thing it's not worth it we are in big trouble. At least the Lawyer will pay tax and VAT on that figure wink

Unfortunately we can't look at it as a zero sum game because it's about more than the actually sum.

Gigondas Tue 22-Jan-13 17:02:03

Why has no one mentioned one of the more obvious tax dodges I have seen in rl/Mn- not doing payroll for your nanny?

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 17:04:55

Oh yes, another Middle Britain tax dodge, well said Gigondas.

badguider Tue 22-Jan-13 17:08:38

the only thing i have ever paid cash in hand is £2.50 a fortnight to the man who sweeps our communal stair - i very much doubt he makes enough to be eligible for tax.

once you go cash in hand you have absolutely no recourse if the work is shoddy or you get ripped off... you can't go to the small claims court if you have no paperwork.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 17:13:36

"According to a report by the Public Accounts Committee, more than two million people make cash-in-hand payments costing the Treasury an estimated £2  billion."

It's not small fry is it

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 17:14:39

That should say £2 billion

allgoingtoshitnow Tue 22-Jan-13 17:16:51

Prosecuting benefit cheats isn't about the money - its about sending a message to other benefit cheats.

The reason why benefit cheats are hated so much is because they get something for nothing, almost directly out of the pockets of their neighbours. Thus they are no1 on the shitlist.

Big corporations avoiding tax - well most of the ones highlighted are foreign companies who pay tax in their own countries. Thus it has always been and so much of this is noise created by the left/liberals to draw attention away from their favourites in position no1.

Finally you have the cash in hand traders. People dont care so much about them as they see a benefit. Its much easier to quantify 200 quid off a plumbers quote than it is to see the money saved on a tax efficient purchase from Amazon or whatever. And its a hell of a lot easier than having to listen to someone boast about how much they get on benefits now they have another ten kids.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:19:44

the single biggest tax avoider in the UK is Vodafone. Worldwide headquarters = Reading. They have been given carte blanche to 'offshore' up to £3,000,000.00 per year for ever.

ie more than the total cost to the Treasury of all the cash in hand payments
from one UK registered company

Orwellian Tue 22-Jan-13 17:20:12

If the big companies like Amazon and Starbucks are paying minimal to no tax on their millions of pounds of profit and rich MP's and billionaires are avoiding paying tax on their property purchases, I don't see why the struggling middle classes shouldn't do everything they can to limit their taxes (especially when they see how it is wasted). The MP's are setting a very bad example and do not get punished (Margaret Moran etc) and the problem is that people who in the past would gladly pay their way, do everything honestly and morally correct are now seeing how unfair and corrupt the system is and thinking "if I can't beat them, I'll join them".

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 17:23:02


I really liked your post smile

I agree about companies paying tax in their own country. Multi national companies and tax is far more complicated than people realise IMO. I believe (hopefully someone will enlighten me) that American companies have to pay tax on all revenues in US even if it's revenue from abroad?

allgoingtoshitnow Tue 22-Jan-13 17:25:29

Vodaphone is a multinational brand and can locate itself anywhere. If they have negotiated some tax deal then its to keep them on these shores, thus it is not tax avoidance/evasion if HMRC have agreed it.

The whole private eye tax evasion thing turned out to be incorrect, as confirmed by HMRC themselves.

The problems we have in this country arent to do with how much we are raising in tax. Its how much we are spending

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 17:26:29

"the problem is that people who in the past would gladly pay their way, do everything honestly and morally correct are now seeing how unfair and corrupt the system is and thinking "if I can't beat them, I'll join them".

Really hmm Middle Britain used to be totally honest and it's only seeing how unfair it is they have decided to start illegally avoiding tax? I don't think so.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:38:03

You are correct, the USA is clamping down REALLY REALLY hard on offshore tax havens and has NEVER allowed "non domicile status" like the UK.

sorry but incorrect. If you read the accounts of vodafone (and the discussions in the accountancy press) they had provided £4bn in their accounts for the penalty and could not quite believe their luck that schmoozing Hartnett had paid off so well.
And HMRC have ensures that is successor is NEVER in a position to do such deals again.

PessaryPam Tue 22-Jan-13 17:41:32

No-one has ever said it's OK for anyone to evade paying tax love.

PessaryPam Tue 22-Jan-13 17:42:17

Are you Dave Spart?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:51:02

No, I'm a libertarian who believes that the tax codes of most of the developed world need to be MASSIVELY streamlined and simplified.
This would take much expenditure outside the remit of Government and encourage self reliance.

Scrazy Tue 22-Jan-13 18:00:32

If a tradesman is avoiding VAT they are also avoiding Tax. Taking the cash and spending it often on luxuries that are non traceable in an enquiry.

Low earners don't have a chance to avoid tax as every penny they earn is taxed under the PAYE system.

Ime, it is the same people who are welcoming Tory policies.

flatpackhamster Tue 22-Jan-13 18:03:12


I do have a small business but for obvious reason will not divulge the details on here. I am self employed and have been for quite some time.

The thing is if the business doesn't work without getting paid cash in hand to evade tax, it doesn't work. It's not a perk of the self employed to pay less tax is it?

I've been self employed for over a decade. From the 8 years of 2001 to 2009, my taxes were increased nine times. Every time I started to earn a bit more, Gordon Effing Brown decided I was clearly doing too well for myself and took a bit more. Corporation tax went up, then Employers NI, then he change the rules so self-employed get to pay NI twice (once as an employer, and once as an employee), then another Corp Tax rise, then an income tax rise, then ANOTHER corp tax rise, then removal of the 10p tax rate, etc etc.

Financially, I'm worse off than I was ten years ago even though I'm working longer hours.

Does that make my business a failure, or Gordon Brown a shitbag of the highest order?

I don't dodge anything but it's got to the stage where I wouldn't even consider shopping a tax evader, because as far as I'm concerned, the unwritten contract between the government and me was broken again and again - by them.

Orwellian Tue 22-Jan-13 18:04:51

Rottentomatoes. Yes, this is exactly what I am saying. Middle Britain pays a huge amount of the tax take precisely because they are in the middle (i.e. not rich enough to avoid tax altogether and not poor enough to not have to pay any tax). If middle Britain stops working and paying tax, then yes, a big chunk of the tax take will disappear and the government will have to stop letting Vodaphone avoid paying any tax unless they want riots in the street.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 18:05:16


Yes I agree totally.


Whilst you continue to antagonise using the word 'love' and offer nothing interesting I will ignore you.

flatpackhamster Tue 22-Jan-13 18:06:31


If a tradesman is avoiding VAT they are also avoiding Tax. Taking the cash and spending it often on luxuries that are non traceable in an enquiry.

No, they are evading tax. There is a legal difference between avoidance and evasion.

Low earners don't have a chance to avoid tax as every penny they earn is taxed under the PAYE system.

Businessmen can be low earners too.

Ime, it is the same people who are welcoming Tory policies.

That's probably because the Tory party are the only ones who won't actually piss in the faces of the small business owner. Labour treated us like scum. See my post above. The Tories aren't much better - they're really only interested in big business - but at least they don't actively hate small business.

Scrazy Tue 22-Jan-13 18:11:31

Flatpack, yes I know the difference, posted very quickly.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 18:12:29


Whilst I agree with your sentiment and yes Gordon Brown made it stupidly difficult the reason for my post is more on the line that this 'holier than thou' attitude from middle Britain goes back way before Gordon Browns changes.. It goes back decades as far as I can remember, The attitude that it's ok for me to evade but whilst I am doing it I will benefit bash and slag off the rich tax evaders. Hypocritical!

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 18:20:38


But you could say the same about any group in society, if one group stopped paying tax the it would be a nightmare. Around 80% of ALL revenue actually comes from the top 10% so if that group stopped paying tax it would hit hardest. However, this has nothing to do with my OP. I am just saying that no group should take out or not pay in what they should but it only seems socially acceptable in Middle Britain. And in the same breath slating others seemingly oblivious to what they are doing.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 22-Jan-13 18:26:54

I think you may be mistaken about the 'holier than thou' attitude of middle Britain. At the very least, is a massive sweeping generalisation.

I'd consider myself to be somewhere in 'Middle Britain'. I haven't got a problem at all with people who are willing to pay tradesmen cash in hand for certain things, because I think it's wrong that we have to pay tax to have things like plumbing, heating and cooking facilities repaired in the first place. These things are essential, not something the government should use to make money out of people that need them. They don't charge VAT on non luxury food, so why do they charge it to have other things that aren't luxuries?

I have a problem with some people who claim benefits, and with some methods of tax avoidance from the rich or big companies. But that has nothing to do with my views on the fact that we are taxed on essentials, so I don't think I should be called hypocritical. The two opinions are not related.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 18:38:19

"I haven't got a problem at all with people who are willing to pay tradesmen cash in hand for certain things, because I think it's wrong that we have to pay tax to have things like plumbing, heating and cooking facilities repaired in the first place."

So you are justifying people doing something illegal that effects the revenue because of your beliefs. We live in a collective society, for it to work we have to elect people and go with the laws of the land. Everyone in the country has a different view on where the money should come from and can you imagine if everyone paid in what they thought they should.

Out of interest should a billionaire pay VAT for his/her cooker and fridge or is it just people earning under a certain amount that shouldn't? Who do you deem to be rich because it will probably be very different for many people.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 22-Jan-13 18:50:26

I'm not justifying doing something illegal at all, like you say, we all have to live by the law of the land and I completely agree that's the way it should be. But I am allowed to disagree with certain laws at the same time. And all I'm saying here is that I don't think people should have to pay tax on maintaining basic essentials, like heating, flushing toilets, running water.

Should a billionaire have to pay VAT on those things, well, that depends. It would get very complicated if the idea of not charging VAT on essentials was ever looked into, but in a nutshell, I don't think a billionaire should have to pay more for something others get for free, because they already pay more tax to contribute their share. The complications would come when a billionaire lives in a mansion and and need plumbing repairs to six toilets instead of one. Six toilets in a house is a luxury, one isn't, so a line would obviously have to be drawn somewhere.

I stand by my basic principle that essentials shouldn't be taxed.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 18:58:16


There is a difference between saying you don't think something should be taxed and saying but people should not do anything illegal and in your first post you said you don't have a problem with people evading tax.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 22-Jan-13 19:01:42

Good for them i say.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 19:05:37

Proving my point ClippedPhoenix.

2 billion lost to the revenue and you say good for them? How fair is that on low wage earners paying their PAYE tax on low wages?

flatpackhamster Tue 22-Jan-13 19:09:54

£2Bn? That'll run the NHS for just 72 hours.

In terms of closing the £140Bn gap between the £688Bn spending for 2011/12 and the £550Bn tax take, £2Bn is the equivalent of rummaging down the back of the sofa for spare coppers.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 19:12:26

or pay the salary for an extra 67 thousand nurses every year.

flatpackhamster Tue 22-Jan-13 19:15:10

Yeah, I remember an awful lot of 'nurses and teachers, schools and hospitals' rhetoric from Labour when they were chucking the country's money out the window. What about the deficit?

The NHS employs 1.3 million people. I don't think its problem is staffing.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 22-Jan-13 19:16:30

I go to great lengths to make it clear that we're totally above board. I encourage customers to pay by direct bank transfer. Sure, I take cash payments, but I record all of it and keep my accounts.

I'm not generating enough revenue to pay VAT, though. I see a lot of cleaning companies charging peanuts to send employees out to clean and I know there's no way they're paying all their taxes. I've done the maths: you can't make a decent profit on £12.00 an hour after paying for labour and overhead. The only way to do that would be to have a huge volume of revenue and there's no room in £12 for labour, overhead, and VAT.

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 19:19:07


That's the other issue no-one has commented on that I posted about earlier. The knock on effect of those who are cheating the system having unfair advantage over those who are legally paying.

Adversecamber Tue 22-Jan-13 19:19:48

I think the tax dodging is annoying, also my sisters ex avoided paying child maintenance working cash in hand and he owes her 36 k . Her sons are in their twenties now so basically she has raised them for almost their entire lives without help from her ex. There are of threads on here with people that have NRP' that work cash in hand or hide their income or just leave work when CSA catches up with them.

I don't approve but I'm not a grass.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:22:34

even worse are the legit employers getting their staff for free
like Argos, Tesco and the rest
its called Workfare
and the Government has forced it upon the low paid to put small businesses out of business

HotPanda Tue 22-Jan-13 19:29:55

My DH is a self employed tradesman. He gets asked all the time if the price given is a "cash price" he says no, gives them a cash price then says there will be no guarantee to his work. They ALWAYS pay the full price then.

Don't get me started on the bloody bank charges. He gets charged per cheque, and for cash. Only free payment is bank transfers in but not many do that.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:45:06

FSB account with the Co-OP is free
and FSB membership is well worth it for sole traders

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 22-Jan-13 20:03:45


Yes, it does rather suck to be competing against those with an unfair advantage. But, we hope that our very ethical, non-cowboy image will compensate somewhat.

In a few years, we hope to be able to stop cleaning, ourselves, and make money off of the labour of others. I've done the maths: it's not possible to make enough money to live on without charging £20 an hour or so.

This is not to say that we won't be working: we hope to spend our time marketing, recruiting, training, and enforcing quality control. Because people will only pay £20 an hour for cleaning if it's of the highest quality.

In the meantime, we charge significantly more than the "£10 an hour" that so many people seem to think is the standard. In order to justify our rates, we have to give an extraordinary level of service and have the image to convey our standards.

I know a fellow who runs a massive cleaning company in Finland, and who used to run a business in the UK. He thinks the VAT threshold of £70-something thousand a year is too high. He thinks it should be about £2000 or so, so that everyone bears the same burden. I sort of think he has a point.

The truth is, many plumbers, electricians, etc. don't have high enough revenues to have to pay VAT. If they give a cash discount it's just because they don't want to pay income tax.

I can't say I blame someone for not wanting to pay VAT for a cleaner. If they hire a sole operator, they don't have to. I would hope that the sole operators are at least paying all their income taxes.

Binkybix Tue 22-Jan-13 20:21:36

I know someone who says he is a socialist, and pontificates all the time about how taxes should be raised etc etc to met the policies he believes in. Including tax evasion AND avoidance by big business.

He's set himself up as a contractor and probably earns well over 100k/year. However he is essentially a direct employee in most of the tests used by HMRC to decide whether he is legitimately a contractor or really just an employee on the fiddle. It's just that the University he works for allows it/isn't aware. So certainly avoidance and possibly evasion.

He's almost boastful about it and I genuinely find it difficult to spend time around him because he will always go on about policy etc (I work for Gvt), seemingly without seeing the irony.

It's really changed how I view him as a person, and is difficult because he's married to my best friend.

I'm with you OP! I secretly hope he gets caught then feel guilty about it

rottentomatoes Tue 22-Jan-13 20:40:56

I understand everything you are saying and wish you all the luck in the world. I used to employ a cleaning company and when I put it out to tender I actually had a quote for an hourly rate less than minimum wage from one company! Needless to say I didn't hire them.


That is exactly what I was talking about what a great example. Go on make the call wink

Binkybix Tue 22-Jan-13 20:52:37

Oh I couldn't tell on him, although I want to. I'd feel so guilty for my friend and worry what would happen if they found out! It makes me so, so angry though. Such a self-righteous hyporcrite!

ShellyBoobs Tue 22-Jan-13 21:05:35

...and FSB membership is well worth it for sole traders

If it's these lot you're talking about, any member can pay or not pay whatever taxes they like, for me. They sound bloody scary!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 22-Jan-13 21:26:18

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