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Survey: Is It Wrong For Trades People To Take Cash Payments?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 25th July 2012

So there has been a lot of debate over the last few days about whether it is right or wrong to pay cash to a tradesperson. However many people have probably missed the key point about what David Gauke the tax minister said:

“Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax.

“I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy.”

This has been discussed at length on the radio, TV and press with most missing the point. The key point of what the tax minister said is that if you are offered a discount for paying in cash then this is quite clearly an agreement between the two parties to keep hush hush about the transaction.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with paying cash for any product or service after all cash is legal tender. However if you are handing over thousands of pounds for a service in cash I would be very wary too.

What people should also consider is that if they pay cash they have no comeback should there be a problem with the work that has been done. In fact it could mean if something goes wrong with the work done then it could end up costing much more if you need to get someone else in to fix the job.

In an industry where rogue traders are infamous my advice to anyone would be its fine to pay cash but not in exchange for a discount. It is also not advisable to pay large sums in cash regardless of whether there is a discount or not.

In fact if someone insists on cash payments for large sums of money I would run a mile. Any reputable builder, sparky, painter or decorator should be giving you a couple of options to pay including cheque or even card payments, should not be offering a discount for cash and should always supply a proper receipt for any work carried out.

I know many will claim that they are charged to process cheques and the like by their banks, however this should be taken into account when pricing up a job. If you do choose to pay cash even for a small discount this is still not illegal but just be sure you are given a proper receipt / invoice for the work done.

We want to collect responses on this so what do you think? Is it wrong to offer or accept a discount for cash jobs?