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To insist on a VAT-inclusive quote from my CM's partner for building work?

(12 Posts)
Asana Wed 09-Sep-09 10:04:24

My DS has just started at a new CM's house. She is a neighbour a few doors down from mine and we've always gotten along. She has also taken care of my legal ward (nephew) in the past.

My CM's partner is a general builder by trade. He did a bit of work for us a few weeks ago which we paid for in full.

Our roof has sprung serious leaks and my DH and I are looking to have it replaced. We asked the CM's partner for a quote and he has quoted us GBP1000 (labour and materials) with a view to starting the work shortly.

Last night, I called him up to discuss contracts (I tend to use FMB contracts for any major building work we have done) and he said that he would just give us a written quotation and cash invoice when the work is done. He was reluctant to use a proper contract requiring him to quote VAT as he would like cash-in-hand to avoid declaring his full income to HMRC and told me this very openly. He also stated that the price of GBP1000 meant that he was giving us a discount as neighbours so we wouldn't have to pay him a VAT-inclusive price.

I'm not happy about the matter. I for one am quite glad to pay taxes, without which society would be a dire place indeed (being from a country where tax is seen as a joke word, I know how poor quality of life is for most ordinary citizens who earn a pittance). Given that he has also told me he is looking to avoid VAT, if I went ahead and colluded with this, I would be committing a criminal offence (though prosecutions are extremely rare about this type of matter where small amounts of VAT are involved), punishment for which would be an unlimited fine and 7 years in prison. He has promised to guarantee the work, but if the contract with him is illegal, then I doubt a guarantee would be enforceable, though of course I could simply pretend that I had no idea he was looking to commit tax evasion (but I really don't feel comfortable doing this).

AIBU to tell him I want a full quote plus VAT, otherwise we won't contract him to do the work? If the full price is too expensive, then I would try and get quotes from other builders. I can see this causing him offence/pissing him off, given that he seemed extremely happy at the amount of work my house needs and how much money he could make if we use him exclusively. Then again, I don't want it to cause problems between me and my CM, given that my DS is at their house a significant proportion of the week.

WWYD? Should I just accept the quote and turn a blind eye? Or should I insist on a VAT-inclusive quote?

Asana Wed 09-Sep-09 10:29:51

I promise I'm not a typical overly-pious saint (even though that's how the above post comes across). Just got back from dropping DS off at CM's and she mentioned that her partner will be around later today to discuss the work needed. I just mmm-ed and ahh-ed and changed the subject. Thankfully, after some discreet probing, she revealed she is a Netmum's "gal" so little chance of her reading this (I really should have thought of that before!)

thrifty Wed 09-Sep-09 10:32:29

the price seems very cheap to me. I think you are being a bit unreasonable, given the current climate and the fact you already supply the family with work, i'm guessing he is trying to make it cheaper for you/do you a favour. I don't know many families atm who can just fork out £1000 at the drop of a hat, let alone more. However, you don't seem to appreciate his offer to save you some money, so why not just decline and get the other people to do it?

worldgonemad72 Wed 09-Sep-09 10:34:46

Is he VAT Registered? Not all businesses are, if your taxable supplies are below £67000 per annum then you dont need to (i think)
If it was me id get a few quotes from professional companies aswell.

curiositykilled Wed 09-Sep-09 10:37:26

It is your right not to have your morals impinged upon by another persons so YANBU but getting wound up by this may undermine a good relationship with your CM.

People normally only ask their friends or friends of friends for quotes like this expecting to do it for cash. He has probably assumed that is why you asked him rather than someone else.

Perhaps you'd be better to get a proper firm to do it for you all above board and explain how you feel to your neighbour's husband as best you can. Basically saying you have no problem with him choosing to do that in his life but you are a prig and can't break the rules. He might offer to do it on the books then so as not to lose the work.

GrinnyPig Wed 09-Sep-09 10:41:26

It's possible he is not VAT registered, but even if he isn't then he's said he wants paid in cash to avoid paying income tax. I suspect he is just trying to be nice and offering 'mates rates'.

I don't see why it should change the relationship with your childminder, but I don't think you are being unreasonable to expect him to pay income tax on all his earnings. Ask him for a quote to include tax and get a couple of other quotess too for comparison.

Asana Wed 09-Sep-09 11:23:06

The price does seem incredibly cheap for the work required. I also trust him to do a good job. I guess the main thing playing on my mind is the guarantee. Given the nature of the work, if DH and I were to sell up in the future, I would want any future owners to be able to rely on such a guarantee and we would market that as an extra selling point to the property as flat roofs tend to have a rather bad rep [thanks Kirsty and Phil(!)]

Also, in the unlikely event that the work isn't up to scratch, I would want to be able to seek proper redress. I don't see that being a problem, but who knows what could happen further down the line ... If that were to happen, I would like to know that we have a legally binding extensive contract that covers the work.

I think it's because I've dealt with some pretty shoddy builders in the past, hence my reluctance to simply go along with it. Plus, there's a little voice at the back of my mind saying that if he's prepared to cheat the taxman, how do I know we aren't being cheated e.g. when it comes to materials used etc?

I guess I'll try and get other quotes. The only thing now is what to say if we don't agree starting the work next week as previously anticipated ... I think he'll still be pretty offended if I mention wanting to seek other quotes. Gah!

katiestar Wed 09-Sep-09 11:38:51

You wouldn't be breaking the law.You pay him what he asks for and its up to him to makesure he pays vat/income tax not you!!

TheDMshouldbeRivened Wed 09-Sep-09 11:46:42

I'm going shock at how cheap it is. we've been quoted 6K for thr roof (terraced house)

Asana Wed 09-Sep-09 12:31:52

Oh, it's just the roof of our extension (probably just over 6 square metres). It'll remain a flat roof, so no tiling etc. Still cheap though!

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 09-Sep-09 13:06:45

We had a plumber offer to replace our boiler vat free. We thanked him but declined as I was very concerned that it would meant that we had no come back if there was an issue and I was worried what it would mean about certificates and what not.

LittleSilver Wed 09-Sep-09 13:11:29

YANB at all U.

You are right - to agree with him is morally wrong. But I se eit's a bit of a tricky situation, so you have my sympathy!

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