Would you ever pay someone cash for "no VAT" on the invoice?
No need to answer because we are not here to judge. There is however an important question, What is the difference if a tradesman or supplier or contractor says "pay cash and I don’t charge VAT" to the tycoon who stacks away money in an offshore account in Switzerland?
Well it’s pretty obvious really – there isn’t one. They can both avoid paying tax completely if they do not declare it which is not smart by any means.
Offshore bank accounts are not illegal and may have many legitimate uses (for example they help if you do business overseas) and you may ultimately pay less tax if you keep funds offshore as long as you declare it; not declaring it is tax evasion which is illegal. Cash-in-hand is only illegal if the aim is to avoid a paper trail thus avoiding declaring the corresponding income. Please don’t get me wrong because I’m not suggesting that everyone does it but in light of the recent HSBC scandal it’s something that I had to bring to light.
But the small business owner will be penalised much harder if caught and they don’t have any banks or fancy lawyers covering their back but they may get the sympathy of the public unlike the rich who will be seen as greedy and complacent.
If you want my opinion, it shouldn’t matter what your status is and as long as you have money coming in or out you must declare it – it’s your duty as a good citizen to do so. But I want to know what you think.
If you like the way we think – you will like the way we work.
AIMS Accountants for Business are the largest independent association of professionally qualified accountants in the UK specialising in accountancy for small, local and independent businesses. AIMS are no ordinary accountants and we are more than just number crunchers!