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Cash in hand - John C. Kirk

Feb. 11th, 2012

12:23 am - Cash in hand

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From:johnckirk
Date:February 12th, 2012 02:15 pm (UTC)
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I think we're basically saying the same thing: sometimes it's dodgy, but not always.

I agree with you that if someone explicitly offers to let me dodge tax then I should decline. However, I try to be tactful in these situations. It may be analagous to pirate software, e.g.
Me: "Woohoo, payday, time to buy that computer game I've been waiting for."
Friend: "That's ok, I can burn you a copy, you don't need to pay for it."
Me: "What? How dare you suggest such a thing? I am shocked and appalled."
Friend: "Ok, whatever. I was just trying to do you a favour, no need to be a dick about it."

Admittedly, when I first encountered situations like this with tradesmen I didn't realise that they also benefitted; that makes it a bit easier to decline, when they're asking me to do them a favour. Receipts are useful as a way to avoid insulting the tradesman, and they might be handy later, e.g. if Drain Doctor fix a plumbing problem and it reoccurs within 6 weeks then they'll come back free of charge to fix it again.

Thinking of eBay, they always encourage people to use PayPal. However, that involves a transaction fee (in addition to eBay's fee) so some sellers ask buyers to pay with a bank transfer instead. That may offer less protection, i.e. it's harder to get a refund if the seller cheats you, but I can understand why they do it and I don't think it's morally wrong. It's also why I tend to dispose of stuff via Freegle nowadays, because by the time I've paid all the fees it's not worth the tiny income for selling things.

Taking a more recent example, I locked myself out in December. The locksmith charged £85 to open the door for me, and I offered to pay with a cheque or debit card but he said that he'd prefer cash. I went to the cashpoint, but they only issue £10/£20 notes. I asked him whether he had change; he didn't, so he reduced the price to £80. I didn't get a receipt, but I didn't need one: once he'd opened the door, he didn't make any warranty that it would stay unlocked (nor would I want him to). He also didn't mention anything about VAT, and I don't think he would have offered the discount if I'd already had £5 in my wallet. So, was this a tax dodge? I don't know, but I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
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