The government’s fight against tax avoidance has had many targets over the past year. From self-employed tax return cheats, to tax-dodging comedians, the crusade continues. Now the subjects of the crusade are tradesmen who receive payment cash in hand, and the clients who facilitate it.

For many of us who have trained or are training on plumbing courses or electrician courses, cash in hand payment is a common and convenient form of working. Yet, according to Treasury Minister David Gauke, the government loses an estimated £2bn every year to what he describes as the ‘black economy’ – largely due to cash in hand payment for tradesmen.

Granted, there are opportunities for abuse of the system when cash in hand payments are made. It is simpler to pocket the payment and therefore avoid taxation, yet not every graduate from plumbing courses or electrician courses works in this way and a great number of those who accept cash in hand payments are scrupulous and honest about their earnings.

Mr Gauke has hit out particularly at those tradesmen who offer ‘discounts’ for cash in hand payments. Of course this area is particularly difficult to police. For those tradespeople who manage payment in this way the arrangement is beneficial both for themselves and for their clients. The taxpayer’s money it would take to tackle the minority who operate in this way would far exceed the gains to be made by ensuring every single transaction is fairly taxed.

There is strong opposition to Mr Gauke’s comments regarding the “moral wrongness” of cash in hand transactions. Labour MP Austin Mitchell has denigrated Gauke’s remarks as “petty”. Equally, just a short time after the MP’s expenses scandal, hints of governmental  involvement in the Leveson enquiry and frankly shocking evidence of the immoral actions of banks like HSBC in Mexico and Barclays worldwide, this accusation of immorality seems really rather rich.

Are you an alumni from our plumbing courses, electricians courses or other types of trades training? What’s your preferred form of payment? Do you accept cash in hand? We’d love to hear from you on this subject.

If you are considering enrolling on plumbing courses or electrician courses, Access will help train you in all areas of your trade. From hands-on technical work, to running your business and working out tax - for flexible, thorough trades training courses, across the UK, contact Access today on 0800 345 7492.

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