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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!

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

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!

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!

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 20:21:36

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

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.

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

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 19:22:34

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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 19:09:54

£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 19:05:37

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?

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

Good for them i say.

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.

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 18:38:19

"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 18:26:54

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 18:20:38


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.

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!

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

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

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.

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