Life is tough on the front line of accountancy. For more than five years, our intrepid correspondent has been bringing us news and views from a typical West Country practice.
HMRC to target small practitioners next?
After the latest morality vs tax avoidance pronouncement by a Government minister I fear that I, and small businesses like mine, are going to be the next targets.
Why? Because I regularly avoid paying PAYE and NICs on the services I consume, and sometimes VAT too.
Take today, for example. Fed up with waiting for our local plumber to come and fix the loo I called by our local DIY store and bought the materials myself - for cash. Even better, they had a discount running which effectively reduced the cost by the amount of VAT on the full price, so I sort of got them VAT-free (doubly in the end, of course, because I also reclaimed the VAT on the receipt). I then mended the loo myself, which means that I avoided paying the plumber, which in turn means that I avoided paying him an invoice plus VAT, and I avoided giving him money on which in due course he would have paid Income Tax and NICs.
So for a small effort on my part I have denied the Treasury a small chunk of tax revenue. Imagine if everyone engaged in DIY (with or without discounted materials) - we would put builders and decorators out of business and make a massive dent in the Government's receipts. Maybe they will make DIY illegal. It would get my wife off my back if they did!
And I have decided we can manage without a window cleaner, I just clean them myself after work once a fortnight. There's another load of VAT and tax avoided! Until they make you produce a CIS card or something similar before you can buy a bucket and sponge. Or maybe you'll need to get a licence from HMRC to own a step ladder.
It may not be tax avoidance - yet - but apparently it's immoral.