Don’t rely on civil servants to fix the roof

Don’t rely on civil servants to fix the roof

30th January 2023 | David Jackson

It was cold, dark and just before 5pm when I took this photograph close to my home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. The two roofers had been up there all day, high above ground in low temperatures varying from 4 to 8 degrees. They were on a price to felt, lath and tile the roof and at the time of the photograph, they were bumping materials ready for the next day.

The view I took was this: here was a couple of roofers determined to earn their money and use every minute of the working day as productively as possible. While HMRC may at any time take issue with the contractor who offered them the work, I doubt there are many tax inspectors – if any at all – who would swap jobs on this cold January day. Heaven forbid their cosy work-from-home policies could be challenged by an on-site employment status inspection.

In the meantime, consider the case of a small roofing contractor being advised by Hudson Contract. The company is enduring a pointless tax investigation that has dragged on for nearly two years and occupied five different tax inspectors to date but will not lead to any more tax being paid because it has done nothing wrong. Or the accountant in London who asked HMRC to clarify the correct application of the VAT domestic reverse charge involving clients and was told that officials didn’t know. And don’t forget the £42 billion – yes, you read that right – £42 Billion that HMRC has failed to collect in tax debt. That money would help fund a welcome pay rise for nurses and other frontline workers. The taxman is failing to fix the roof while the two lads in our story are doing a sterling job with theirs (and I doubt they will be going out on strike anytime soon).

How long I wonder will it be before the politics, prejudices and criticisms towards those who choose to freelance are resurrected or take a new guise? Contrast those who impose the taxes and make the false employment assertions with the self-starters who simply want to earn what they can by their own endeavours.

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