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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!

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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