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Should I change my income on my self employed accounts and pretend I earn more so that I can rent privately

(37 Posts)
sev70 Fri 06-Nov-15 08:10:50

Hello there,

I am trying to escape domestic violence. I have a home jointly owned with husband but he refuses to leave.

Doing an occupation order could mean we still live together for a few more months and this would kill me.

He is a bully and although he doesn't resort to physical violence, it's only because I am black belt karate.

Anyway... I am self employed and only earn 5K/ year. I do my own sets of accounts because I use to work as an accountant.

Should I fiddle my accounts for the past 3 years and "swell" my profits so that I can prove I can pay the rent and then claim for housing benefit (based on my true earnings) without thing anyone.

My question is: do agencies check incomes of self employed by contacting inland revenue (who have my true figures).

Could I get away with it?

Thanks for reading.

museumum Fri 06-Nov-15 08:14:08

I don't know what agencies do but I needed letters from my accountant for buying. It was lucky that I did use an accountant as if I'd done my own accounts I'd have been screwed.

The easier option would be to rent with a guarantor. Do you have anyone who would be willing? Sibling? Parent? Aunt, uncle, friend??

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 08:18:48

There's a document that hmrc will provide as proof of income if you're self employed SA302(?) They may ask for that?

FishWithABicycle Fri 06-Nov-15 08:19:44

I wouldn't fiddle the accounts, no.

Do you own as tenants in common or as joint tenants? Can you speak to a solicitor about forcing a sale?

Are there kids to worry about or is it just the two of you?

When you live separately you will obviously need more than £5k a year to live on. Could you get a second job to bring your income up?

I believe that the benefits system only counts self employment as proper employment if you can show it provides at least minimum wage for you for the hours you put in. Otherwise it's just a hobby.

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 08:21:06

Providing said document means you are not 'screwed' if you do your own accounts

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 06-Nov-15 08:22:19

You're almost certainly going to get court if you adjust your income to suit what different agencies want to hear. If you change your income to be high enough that you can rent, you'll need to pay tax on that amount and not claim benefits.

If it comes out that you've adjusted your accounts in any way, you could be looking at your professional reputation collapsing and a conviction for fraud.

You're also likely to need to provide bank statements, if accounts prepared by yourself are accepted.

Have you spoken to women's aid? There must be a better way.

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 08:27:03

Otherwise it's just a hobby
Is that what they actually say or is that just your own derisive remark for people who don't make much money?

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 08:29:15

Ffs, a letting agency won't take you to courthmm

Toughasoldboots Fri 06-Nov-15 08:30:35

You can get an occupation order within a day if you need to apply as an emergency.

Toughasoldboots Fri 06-Nov-15 08:33:31

How long does it take to get an injunction?

If you are in immediate danger, an application can be made to the court on the same day without your abuser being there. This is called a 'without notice' or ex parte application. The court will need to consider whether or not you are at risk of significant harm, whether you will be prevented or deterred from applying if you have to wait or whether your abuser is avoiding being served notice to appear before the court.

Verypissedoffwife Fri 06-Nov-15 08:36:25

I had to give a reference for my friend who's self employed (I'm her accountant).

The wording on the form asked for her "total income" rather than her self employed income so I was able to truthfully say it was at the level they wanted it to be by including her income from benefits. So you could ask an accountant friend to do this for you.

Or you could just lie. I wouldn't recommend it for a mortgage but for a tenancy?

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 08:39:50

I am trying to escape domestic violence

he doesn't resort to physical violence, it's only because I am black belt karate

Obviously a person can be abusive without being violent but these two statements appear to be contradictory?

Verypissedoffwife Fri 06-Nov-15 08:43:17

Actually, thinking about it, I get quite a few tenancy reference requests at work. None of them have asked for accounts or tax returns - just last 2-3 years income and then signed off by an accountant.

Verypissedoffwife Fri 06-Nov-15 08:50:01

Sorry forgot to answer your other question re whether or not they check with HMRC.

In my experience - no they don't. Mortgage lenders will ask for the sa302 but not tenancy reference agencies. And in any case, they can't check directly with HMRC - they would ask you to get it for them.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 06-Nov-15 08:57:51

Ffs, a letting agency won't take you to court

Who said they would?

The letting agency would be the smallest concern. They'll accept it or they won't. But the tax office would be pretty interested in this, because at best it's an accountant fiddling their books, and at worse it looks like she's lowered her income to avoid paying tax.

And the benefits office would be the same. The claim would, at the very least, be suspended whilst the discrepency was looked into and that could lead to OP not being able to pay her rent. Other benefits could well be suspended too, and as it's a complicated situation, it'd probably result in an interview under caution to ask OP questions, so she'd have to admit that she'd changed the figures and has two sets of accounts, one of which is fraudulent. They may well drop the investigation at that point and OP's benefits returned, but that could take quite a while.

It's not a good idea to have the stress of being found out from this over your head when you're trying to escape an abusive marriage. It'd be much safer to go a different route (guarantor, injunction, etc).

BankWadger Fri 06-Nov-15 08:59:53

My question is: do agencies check incomes of self employed by contacting inland revenue (who have my true figures).

My experience is yes yes they do, so I'm stuck living somewhere I hate. 3 months payslips if you're employed, 3 years accounts if you're self employed (including your hmrc tax certificate to make sure you're declaring actual earns and not inflating the figures)

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 09:15:24

AnchorDownDeepBreath You're almost certainly going to get court if you adjust your income to suit what different agencies want to hear

Verypissedoffwife Fri 06-Nov-15 09:23:33

I read that as a misspelled "caught"

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 09:28:20

Oh I see, she confused court and caught

sev70 Fri 06-Nov-15 12:10:21

Hi everyone! And thank u SO MUCH for your many replies. I tried to answer individually but I don't know how to do it so I will answer ur questions and points made here instead:
1) I am a qualified and experienced AAT (Association of Accountting Technician) so I habe been doing my own sets of accounts those past 10 years and the inland revenue have never questioned it.
2) I have 2 children for which I receive nothing because my joint income with my husband is way too high for that. But husband refuses to help me financially.
3) we already separated for 4 years and had started divorce proceedings (we have been together 17 yrs, married 12) 2 years ago. but then he changed his mind re divorce (he had asked for it, not me) because he saw just how happy I was and woed me back with promises. I went back to live with him a year ago exactly. I was renting before that but there wasn't any agencies involved and landlord didn't have any problem getting someone on benefits since his flat was falling apart and no one else wanted it anyway, it was that bad.
4) he doesn't beat me up because he KNOWS I could DEFEND myself and pin him down in a tick so he has never lifted a finger on me. Doing karate doesn't mean I am violent. It means I can defend myself.
5) I am French so I have absolutely no one here, and nowhere to go. He does, but will not budge (exactly like it was the case 5 yrs ago).
6) to get an emergency occupation order, I need to SHOW and PROVE that I am a victim of domestic abuse. There are NO bruising, NO police records, no domestic violence agency or social services implicated. It's just a daily mental cruelty, constant put downs, me not being "allowed" to put a washoad/dishwasher/Hoover etc on unless he says so because he is paying for the bills (and REfUSES point blank that I pay towards ANY bills so he can say the house his yours - it's not: both our name are on the deed and the mortgage.) Constant put downs in front of the children, refusal to talk about anything, blackmailing me, accusing me of all the problems, twisting everything I say into monstrous statements, threatening me, refusing to help me financially, playing the victim etc etc. So how can I prove that? He will deny any wrong doing til he dies!!! It's his word against me, so I don't stand a chance.
7) I have contacted Rise (domestic violence charity) and they have referred me to a lawyer. I could have gone there myself, which is what I am going to do. They won't allocate me a key worker because I am not broken black and blue. They could only signpost me.
8) I cannot work any more hours because of childcare. I do most of it. He works full time, very long days on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday (when I do childcare, shopping, cleaning etc on top of working 4 jobs), and he has shorter days Thursdays and Fridays so he can do the childcare and I can go to work after school pick up (after school clubs)

Anchordowndeepbreath: I wouldn't declare my "false" income to housing benefit. Just to the agency! And I am pretty sure agencies do not contact housing benefits, especially when they don't even think the tenant is going to claim anything?

I would never ever (not have I ever) fiddled my set of accounts destined to IR!! It would only be for the agency.

Bankwager: ur agency actually contacted the Inland Revenue??? Where do u live? I'm down in Brighton, and here it's absolutely dreadful housing wise.

Finally, I do have a UK guarantor, and the reason I only earn 5K is because I actually spend whole days travelling (I'm an interpreter) or preparing my classes (I am also a private language teachers for nurseries and key stage 1 children 10 hours per week). I also do not earn much when the children are on their 13 weeks holidays per year (no teaching then, only interpreting IF I get someone to look after my two), which has a knock on effect on my yearly income. Husband refuses to help pay towards child care but demands I give up my job to go work full time so that HE can work part time now that the kids are not so much work.
I wonder if I shouldn't ask someone at the housing benefits office about this whole dilemma...

FishWithABicycle Fri 06-Nov-15 17:03:45

suzannecaravaggio no offence intended.

I just meant that you can't claim benefits that are only offered to people working at least 16 hours a week if you earn less than than £5,574.40 after expenses from than work (equivalent of a year-round 16hr/wk min wage job). Obviously people not claiming benefits have every right to spend their efforts however they wish.

suzannecaravaggio Fri 06-Nov-15 17:52:04

sure, but you could have put that across without the dismissive phrase 'just a hobby'

peteneras Fri 06-Nov-15 17:57:00

”Should I fiddle my accounts for the past 3 years and "swell" my profits. . .”

In anybody’s language, this is known as false accounting and is a criminal offence in any civilised country. As an accountant you must know that!

Just a thought, can you not also teach karate to youngsters to boost your income?

BankWadger Fri 06-Nov-15 19:47:52

One of the local agencies wanted to see his see my husband's tax certificate thingy. He hadn't done his tax return yet so didn’t have it. In the end we decided not to bother with that agency (for several reasons). All the other local agencies want 3 years of accounts or a guarantor. We're in Scotland, so you're safe from that agency grin

Bailey101 Fri 06-Nov-15 21:20:08

If you get caught out, the AAT will take disciplinary action and might revoke your membership - they don't take that sort thing lightly.

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