Government say it is 'morally wrong' to pay cash-in-hand

24 July 2012

taxbillTreasury Minister David Gauke doesn't like it when people avoid tax. Gauke has gone as far as to say that it is "morally wrong", but obviously, only when it concerns plumbers, builders and the like, when they're getting cash-in-hand payments.

He's arguing that this practice comes at "a big cost" to the Treasury, which is estimated to be around £2bn each year.

Gauke said: "When a tradesman says, 'Here's a 10%, a 20% discount on your bill if you pay me cash in hand' that is facilitating the hidden economy. That's as big a problem in terms of loss to the Exchequer as tax avoidance. Revenue is not being paid as it should be paid."

"Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax. I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash."

Revenue and Customs spokesman Cliff Hathaway replied: "We are doing everything we can with our resources to plug all the gaps. We need to get people's minds on the fact it might only be £100 in your case but, if you add that up across the United Kingdom, it comes to billions of pounds every year."

So, the lesson here is that, if you're a tradesman or Jimmy Carr, you can expect the government to come down hard on you... but if you're Vodafone or a giant bank, you can just carry on as normal. In fact, if you're a politician with a huge off-shore account, taking money out of the country and allowing it to grow, so you can add it to your existing vast fortune, that's also fine.

In completely unrelated news, Prime Minister David Cameron thinks using offshore schemes are "morally wrong" and Chancellor George Osborne said, in his Budget speech, that tax avoidance as "morally repugnant".

TOPICS:   Banking   Investments   Tax


  • Tweedskin
    When the Government have claimed that £20M in tax from Goldman, and got that other £9Bn from Vodafone, then maybe I'll consider it.
  • Alexis
    The fact he thinks a ton is 'only' a hundred quid pretty much shows what a self righteous buffoon this berk is.
  • Martin
    If you don't agree then you are basically saying all the big businesses and celebs can do it too. If you think it's ok for the rules to be different for the poor than the rich then you obviously don't get it. It shouldn't be right for anyone. Look at what he was actually asked and what he answered, it's not the 'paying is cash is immoral' he was talking about all tax avoidance being immoral and paying cash in hand for services being an example of that. We already have plenty of other examples. But if you just want to bash the government for their past screwups go ahead, it just makes you as much of a knob as them
  • Tweedskin
    If a builder wants to charge me 10% less for paying cash than great. It's not my responsibility to make sure he's paying his (or hers) tax, it's his. So basically...fuck off Martin.
  • whoosh
    Wow - thanks for the tip, I never knew that would work with tradesmen :-)
  • Sicknote
    With so much indirect tax this statement is somewhat fucking flawed. Example: I pay my cleaner £20 in cash a day for a few hours cleaning, she then puts petrol in her little car which attracts TAX. What money she has left she places in her current account which attracts TAX; she then pays for food & services to her home which attract TAX. My point being that that money pay is bitten by the TAX system at every turn and I could understand this argument if we didn't have the widespread indirect tax model that we do have.
  • Me
    Morally wrong is the fucking taxman taking more taxes when I try do work more hours!
  • Me
    @ Sicknote: Good Example @ Martin: Fuck off!
  • Bob
    It's not my job to make sure they pay their taxes. If I'm offered a discount I'm taking it. Basically...fuck off Martin.
  • Weird
    Why the fuck should i pay tax through paye, whereas some tradesman can avoid it? Rich or poor, if we legally have to pay, then we all should.
  • Willywonka`s O.
    Weird....thats just weird
  • Weird
    @Willywonka- Why is that weird? Tax dodgers should be bummed.
  • Bob
    "He’s arguing that this practice comes at “a big cost” to the Treasury, which is estimated to be around £2bn each year." ....hmmm, so around the amount Vodafone didn't pay in tax. Fucking dickwits.
  • Tony B.
    I always listen to the government to keep my morals in check. Tosspots. If it's morally wrong, just make it illegal, then no-one will give a toss about morals. No point in fucking whinging about it, like a girl.
  • Willywonka`s O.
    Tax dodgers should be that is weird....weird.... Sadly as we know….these fucking muppets don`t live in the real world…when voda and the vamp squid start paying...thats when they can start to get moral....on second thoughts...after their former aide has now been charged
  • Mr M.
    Nothing wrong with cash in hand, up to us plmbers if we declare it...
  • Robin M.
    I think you should all pay more tax, these austerity measures are ruining my expenses claims I miss my freebie hobnobs :'-(
  • Mr M.
    Give the Government £100 million and they'll wank it away. Give them £100 billion and they'll wank it away. They're bigger wasters than the druggie scum families they support. Decide for yourself what you do with your money. Let your conscience guide you. Now wash the car my sons.
  • Norman L.
    David Gauke claimed £10,248.32 in stamp duty and fees involved in the purchase of his second home in London. - Glass House perhaps? Gauke is married to Rachel, who is a professional support lawyer specialising in corporate tax at legal research provider LexisNexis - So no conflict of interest there then
  • Sicknote
    I guess that there is a price above which everyone would insist that the transaction goes on the books for the purposes of consumer protection. Consider a new hard wood conservatory I've just had put up for a cost of near 20K - if the salesman had offered a 20% discount for paying cash I'd have to say no as I would want the receipt and consumer protection. I reckon my price for cash only would be £300 or less
  • Spencer
    Morals are a personal preference. What someone may find moraly abhorrent... others may find perfectly acceptable and just (capital punishment or abortion for example). So in the first instance it's not a judgement for others to decide morality... only legality. Secondly... paying cash is perfectly acceptable on any level. It's whether the tradesperson declares it and pays tax on it that could be contentious. And as already stated... the day we look to MP's for moral guidance is the day I move to Russia.
  • Capability B.
    Cock in hand beata cash in hand any day

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