Not a question you'd expect to see on this forum, but one I had to ask myself yesterday when a client (or rather his wife) came in and freely confessed to playing away on someone else's payroll. With the full consent of her husband, I might add.
There I was, fondly imagining that he'd found himself a handy assistant and dutifully doing her payslips and RTI submissions, only to discover the woman in question doesn't do a stroke of work for him. Instead, his wife comes in and helps him. Meanwhile, she's employed on a friend's payroll and likewise does nothing for him. They do both get paid by their pseudo-bosses though, or so I'm told. It's not like it's a complete fiction.
Why enter such a complicated arrangement, I wondered. Turns out it was to smooth their respective mortgage applications, as apparently lenders don't like wives working for their husbands.
I had to ask myself whether they are actually doing anything illegal here, or at least whether the husband can legally claim tax relief on the wages. At first glance, I don't see why not. After all, the work is being done, just not by the person on the payroll. I suppose you could say they're standing in for each other, permanently!
As for paying people to do nothing, we'd have to sack half the Civil Service if that was so wrong.
I wondered about mortgage fraud, but she didn't say they wouldn't have got the mortgage otherwise, just that it might have been more difficult.
Has anyone else come across this situation? It's probably more common than we think.