Price to be paid
I READ with amazement Allan Massie’s article, “The logical argument for paying cash in hand” (Perspective, 25 July). Does he not know that most tradesmen’s charges should by law include the additional amount of 20 per cent for VAT, which they in turn must forward to HMRC?
The “cash-in-hand” practice which he advocates for the “efficient and reliable tradesman who does his work well and who cuts his price if you pay cash” is almost certainly defrauding the Exchequer of that 20 per cent VAT. He would effectively be a partner to that crime and enabling it to take place as his discount is a share of the proceeds of that fraud.
I have been astounded by the naivety and sheer ignorance of some of our politicians and media types on the stushie that has been raised about cash payments being made by people to avoid paying tax on goods and services received.
For the avoidance of doubt, the onus and legal requirement for the payment of tax on goods and services sold to a customer lies fair and square on the provider of the goods and services, not the customer.
If the provider agrees to make a discount for cash, he or she – not the customer – is still liable for the tax.
If this tax isn’t paid and the cash goes into the back pocket, then of course that is fraud but, again, the fault does not lie with the customer but with the provider.
I would have expected a government minister to have known this.
A government minister tells us that paying a tradesman by cash (knowing that he might not declare it), is immoral; well it might be, but some of us think that a general VAT rate of 20 per cent is immoral.
Bo’ness, West Lothian
I paid my window cleaner £6 cash in hand. I did not reflect on the morality of this transaction at the time. Now a government minister is accusing me of being an immoral person. This is from a man with a very healthy bank and expense account.
He may have been within the law charging me for his vacuum cleaner but he is morally wrong. As that makes two of us, I will continue to pay the window cleaner and he can charge me for his flat screen television.
Doris M H Duff
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