Share this content
19

Self-Employed Janitor? Is There Such A Thing?

"Friend of a Friend" Coming to See Me About His Last-Minute SA Return - Alarm Bells Ringing Loudly

Didn't find your answer?

A friend of a friend will be dropping in shortly, probably for me to do his last-second 2018/19 tax return (he will expect it done for free!)

He is a bit of a Walter Mitty character, cagey with his facts, but generally a nice person. I know I am going to have to turn him away, but I think I know what he is going to ask.

In a previous conversation, he let on that for 2017/18 he was on the payroll as an employed caretaker for someone who had a contract for the maintenance of an old mill now housing business units. Anyway, he was given his P45 during 2017/18 but kept on as the caretaker for the same outfit, but on a self-employed basis. I just know he is going to want to ask me about claiming his home to work return mileage for what will essentially be commuting (as it was when he was employed). I also know he is going to ask about use of home as office.

Now, he will defintely be raising invoices from home. He may also field the odd business telephone call from home as well. But as far as I can see, it would appear that the person who had the maintenance contract with the mill must have decided that he could not be bothered with the PAYE hassle of a caretaker employee on the books. Far simpler just to get the caretaker to hand him the periodic invoice for work done. (About £11,000 per annum). But that is the "employer's" problem - nothing to do with me.

Now, when I turn this "friend of a friend" away (far too risky a job for zero reward), he is going to think I am nuts because his will have trouble getting his head around the key concepts of "self-employed commuting" and "use of home as office" when in reality his work starts, finishes and is done in a mill about 10 miles away.

I would really appreciate how I can let down this Walter Mitty character without hurting him too much. I have thought of saying "why don't you get yourself a proper job", but that may hurt him a little seeing that he has been trying to "get a proper job" for the last 40 years!

P.S. He has small amount of pension income and other small genuine PAYE income, so he is a few £1,000 over the personal allowance limit.

 

 

Replies (19)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By frankfx
22nd Jan 2020 09:18

I note your posting was at 4.10 a.m this morning.

I do hope your non client at least recommends some profitable work for you.

Do your charges vary with the time , not just the duration, when you are working on their affairs.

Lawyers , I sense, charge for every moment when a client comes to mind.

Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland

There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Well 4.10 a.m may just be before breakfast

Let's know how the meeting concluded.

Thanks (1)
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
22nd Jan 2020 10:01

Can’t you just say you don’t have time to do it & apologies profusely?

Thanks (1)
avatar
By bernard michael
22nd Jan 2020 10:06

Perhaps a quick phone call to say that you are too busy with existing clients to help him and suggest your least favourite competitor may be worth a try.
It's called the Pontius Pilate stratagem

Thanks (1)
avatar
By 356B
22nd Jan 2020 11:09

It's so simple. Refer him to HMRC.
https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself

Thanks (1)
Replying to 356B:
By penelope pitstop
22nd Jan 2020 12:54

Now that is a good link. Will sit him in front of my screen and we shall both read it together!

Thanks (0)
Replying to penelope pitstop:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
22nd Jan 2020 13:32

Is there not a version with pictures or an online interactive "Listen with Mother" type.

I always really enjoyed the read together books with the buttons that the kids pressed that created sounds, the HMRC one could have police sirens, court noises and a cell door slamming.

Thanks (1)
By penelope pitstop
22nd Jan 2020 12:51

Added this to original post:

P.S. He has small amount of pension income and other small genuine PAYE income, so he is a few £1,000 over the personal allowance limit.

Thanks (0)
By Paul D Utherone
22nd Jan 2020 13:26

Use of Home s94H ITTOIA - is it going to take him more than 25 hours month to raise the invoice? I suppose he might store tools there, but really?

Aside from the question of whether he really is s/e:
- no travel to & from
- unlikely to be any use of home
- claim the trading allowance and have done with it

Thanks (1)
avatar
By frankfx
22nd Jan 2020 14:27

Is he married?

£1000 over the personal allowance.

Could a married couples allowance transfer bring a smile on your sleep deprived face when he pays for wonderful service.

Thanks (1)
Replying to frankfx:
By penelope pitstop
22nd Jan 2020 14:35

Walter Mitty's wife has to work like the clappers to keep Walter Mitty financially afloat. So she earns more than her personal allowance, so it is a non-starter.
But thanks for trying!

And he's a few £,000 over the personal allowance, not £1,000 over.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By whitevanman
22nd Jan 2020 16:06

I would say that people such as Walter don't necessarily want the truth and certainly not the detailed technical explanations you might consider a client deserves. What they want is assurance / reassurance that they are not missing out (such as the man down the pub gives them). So, I would suggest some "lies to children" along the following lines:
If looked at by HMRC he would be considered an employee. It is clear the "employer" doesn't want the cost etc of operating PAYE. It is likely that if tackled by HMRC, the employer would reconsider whether it is worthwhile having the caretaker and would probably look for some alternative like outsourcing the whole to a security firm.
The rules about what can be claimed are very restrictive and he would probably qualify for very little, if anything. The costs of formulating a claim with the risk of enquiry by HMRC and all that will entail, would make the whole not worthwhile and given the risk of HMRC looking at his status, you would consider his best course to be simply accepting the position "as is" and not rocking the boat.
This may convince him that you are giving him the right advice, at no cost and hopefully in the fewest words / shortest time. Good luck!

Thanks (2)
Replying to whitevanman:
By penelope pitstop
22nd Jan 2020 16:29

Think you have hit the nail on the head.
Thanks

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Montrose
23rd Jan 2020 11:14

Tell him you can't deal with his affairs now, but if he comes to talk to you after 31st. January, you would charge him £x for advice.

If he was factually an employee, his employer [although he thinks he has avoided the obligation]is responsible for PAYE -and employer's NI as well.
If he is a pensioner he has no employee's class 1 liability.

That is by far the easiest solution to determining his liability.

Unless he has been sent an SA100 to complete or if including his grossed up janitorial income with his other income takes him into higher rates, he has no filing obligation for 31st January .

Thanks (1)
Replying to Montrose:
By penelope pitstop
23rd Jan 2020 20:12

He is around 60 years of age, so Class 1 NIC would still be a problem for "employer" if "employer" got caught out.

He has already registered for SA for at least 2017/18, so something will have to be submitted for 2018/19.

Thanks (0)
Replying to penelope pitstop:
By Charlie Carne
24th Jan 2020 10:19

If he is the only potential employee than, at the salary level you mention, the employer's NI would be more than covered by the annual £3,000 Employment Allowance.

Thanks (1)
Replying to penelope pitstop:
By Charlie Carne
24th Jan 2020 10:24

posted twice

Thanks (0)
avatar
By leeanthonyblackshaw
23rd Jan 2020 20:26

Is he mild-mannered janitor, called Penrod "Penry" Pooch? If so, his other line of work may help.

Thanks (1)
Replying to leeanthonyblackshaw:
By penelope pitstop
23rd Jan 2020 20:40

He is definitely mild-mannered. I forgot about the Hong Kong Phooey character.
Not so sure about his crime fighting capabilities though.

But he has been involved in a "get-rich-quick-scheme" or three during his life, which have ended up with him having much less in the bank afterwards than he had before!! They have ended up as "get-poor-quick-schemes", much to his wife's chagrin.

His historic "money-making" (aka money-losing) endeavours would make Del Boy Trotter look like a gifted amateur.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By pauljohnston
24th Jan 2020 11:27

Dont forget AML. In third party launguage "If I am aware that a person is avoiding paying all their taxes it has to be advised to the AML Body"

Thanks (0)
Share this content

Related posts