The Daily Telegraph seems to have jumped onto this story about David Gauke. The problem seems to have arisen by a journalist who does not know what he is talking about.
“People who pay cash in hand to tradesmen are ‘morally wrong’, damaging the economy and helping tax evaders, a minister has warned.”
First of all cash in hand is indeed a morally wrong, it is also illegal. By this cash in hand is off the books payment for work by cash and then not declared as income. This doesn’t mean a customer can’t pay with cash at all, which seems to be what the article is targeted at. The online poll asks the question ‘Do you pay tradesman in cash?’; the journalist has clearly not understood the difference between cash in hand and cash payment and anyone who has answered that it is morally wrong to pay with cash then I hope they don’t pay with cash at shops, restaurants or anywhere else for that matter.
It is not down to the person who is paying the bill to check up to see if the tradesman has filed an appropriate tax return. It is entirely the responsibility to the tradesman. If you receive an invoice and pay that invoice you don’t go around chasing to find out if they paid the appropriate tax. David Gauke should take a step into the real world, a cashless society doesn’t exist and I for one wouldn’t want it to. That is different issue to a tradesman evading tax.
There is a problem in the UK with people who will still ask if there is a discount for cash, implying off the books payment and therefore no tax to pay. It is accepted, but it is a worse problem than Jimmy Carr shuffling his money off to the Channel Islands. Mainly it is worse as it is tax evasion and illegal and also helps to prop up the benefit culture to allow some tradesmen to continue to claim benefits. However we are not just talking about tradesmen here, we also need to look at the following as well for a start.
- eBay sellers
- Taxi drivers
- Shop keepers
The reality is in the UK it is not a big problem, if we were to look at the Greek or Spanish economies that are both struggling. Cash in Hand is the norm and tax is not a high priority on anyone’s list. There are so many scams in operation through the struggling countries it is unreal. It is no great surprise that they have no money, if none of their workers are willing to pay their way, but what do they care, they have the Germans to bail them out. They have been laughing all the way to the bank.