MSE News: 90% happy to deal in black economy

in Cutting Tax
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This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Most consumers would happily pay in cash to get a discount, even if they knew it would encourage tax evasion ..."
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  • PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
    10.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    Forumite
    Whilst I don't condone tax evasion, I think the Revenue have partly bought this situation upon themselves because they have a reputation for being harsh and unfair in the way they treat people who have genuine difficulties with their tax affairs.

    They are often less than efficient in the way they conduct peoples' tax affairs with mistakes being made on a regular basis. They also have a reputation for being high handed and above the law and answerable to nobody when they are acting unreasonably. I think if they adopted a more customer friendly approach, people might resent them less and be happier to pay what was due.
  • scotsbobscotsbob Forumite
    4.6K Posts
    In a democracy 90% is pretty conclusive.

    After 41% tax and 11% NI, I have to earn £2.42 to pay £1.19 for a litre of petrol, of which another 78p goes in tax and VAT

    To pay for 0.42p of petrol I have to earn £2.42 all the rest goes in tax. Now that explains why we are happy to go for discounts and help others evade their tax.
  • John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
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    I do not accept that the Government has a right to spend almost 50% of the nation's GDP, because even in communist China the money is called RMB, meaning the peoples' money.
    So it is not both sides of the same coin, when a government takes half the peoples' money and allows some benefit cheat to steal it. The people have been robbed twice.

    (OK that is hyperbole but you get my drift?)
  • edited 27 May 2010 at 6:48PM
    Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
    15.1K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 27 May 2010 at 6:48PM
    # No income tax, no V.A.T.,
    # No money back, no guarantee,
    # Black or white, rich or poor,
    # We'll cut prices at a stroke......
    # God bless Hooky Street,
    # Viva Hooky Street,
    # Long live Hooky Street,
    # C'est magnifique, Hooky Street,
    # Magnifique, Hooky Street,





    # But here's the one that's drivin' me beserk,
    # Why do only fools and horses work?





    .... and remember, it's not 90% of the UK, but 90% of those who responded who actually visit this site.

    Perhaps it says more about the type of person this site now attracts, if not because they pay no income tax or VAT, but because when it all goes wrong they also find there's no offer of money back or a guarantee? :cool:
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • moggylovermoggylover Forumite
    13.3K Posts
    Whilst I can understand the temptation to grab a bigger discount by helping someone to "fiddle" their tax, and yep, I can even see the argument that it "up to the tradesman" to be honest or otherwise with his tax situation I personally find the lack of personal integrity to be very much a variance with the harsh judgements made by the mass of benefits bashers that these boards seem to attract.

    Dishonesty is dishonesty: it just seems that many feel their own dishonesty is acceptable/excusable, but that of others is a hanging crime.

    Double standards all the way:(
    "there are some persons in this World who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them"
    (Herman Melville)
  • This can be quite a problem in my area of work - namely window cleaning. Someone like myself who plays it straight can lose out heavily to tax dodgers. If I didn't pay tax/NI I could work for maybe 30% less. If I illegally signed on as well I could work for maybe 60% or 70% less.
    I used to try to compete with the black economy but I was just running myself into the ground. I don't do that now. I just set my prices out and if the customer doesn't want that price then the work doesn't happen. Some of the pay rates customers quote to me are clearly offered by people on the fiddle.
    One line I hear sometimes after supplying a quotation is "My last window cleaner only charged £xx" I then ask them why they have asked me for a quote and they tell me that he stopped turning up. My next line is "He probably went bankrupt charging those rates".
    It's much better playing it straight. I sleep well and don't have to explain myself to anyone.
    I've had people ask for a cash price after I've supplied a quote. I just tell them it's the same rate because however they pay me, it all goes through the books.
    Ironically, I would have no problem with someone else fiddling as a short term stopgap to get themself out of a hole - so long as they leave my customers alone. I've never needed to do it myself but I know how slow the benefits system can be. Indeed if someone's family were hungry and he was capable of knocking on doors to clean windows and earn a quick £30 to feed them, I think he would be irresponsible not to do so.
  • moggylover wrote: »
    Whilst I can understand the temptation to grab a bigger discount by helping someone to "fiddle" their tax, and yep, I can even see the argument that it "up to the tradesman" to be honest or otherwise with his tax situation I personally find the lack of personal integrity to be very much a variance with the harsh judgements made by the mass of benefits bashers that these boards seem to attract.

    Dishonesty is dishonesty: it just seems that many feel their own dishonesty is acceptable/excusable, but that of others is a hanging crime.

    Double standards all the way:(

    Funnily enough I set high standards for my own honesty but feel compassion towards someone who might need to work a short term fiddle to stave off hunger etc.
    A sort of double standards in reverse :)
  • RayWolfeRayWolfe Forumite
    3K Posts
    No one. NO ONE in this country would go hungry if they are earning enough to pay tax. It may be tough out there but exaggeration does not help.
  • edited 30 May 2010 at 8:47AM
    PaulgonnabedebtfreePaulgonnabedebtfree Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    edited 30 May 2010 at 8:47AM
    RayWolfe wrote: »
    No one. NO ONE in this country would go hungry if they are earning enough to pay tax. It may be tough out there but exaggeration does not help.

    Presumably you've never been in a situation then where your income is suddenly removed and it takes a while for the benefits to be sorted out.
    When in such a situation (fairly briefly) many years ago I did have a few hundred quid put by but I can see that might not have been possible for some people. It took about six weeks before the state started paying my rent (backdated) and about five weeks before the unemployment benefit starting coming through. My income stopped overnight as the company I worked for went pop without warning. Sure I eventually got stuff backdated and even got some state funded redundancy pay after about six months. Without savings I would have gone hungry (and possibly evicted onto the street) so I say that I was not exaggerating. If you've never been in such a situation you are fortunate.
  • RayWolfeRayWolfe Forumite
    3K Posts
    .... and that has precisely what relevance to not paying tax whilst you are earning?
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