Are you morally bankrupt? If a certain MP is to be believed, trying to help people in need makes you morally wrong. But maybe it’s time to stop listening to certain ‘authority’ figures.
So the Treasury wants to name and shame tax dodgers? So what? We all have a responsibility to pay tax. Roads need to be repaired. Nurses have to be paid. MP’s pensions have te be topped up.
But at what point does it become right to be morally wrong? Should we pay tax on every single transaction or should it only be the rich that are unmasked?
Conservative MP, David Gauke, seems to think that, by paying a tradesman cash in hand, you are morally wrong. For a moment, let’s put aside some of the very fishy smelling expense claims that Gauke made and answer his statement.
Who sets the moral standards?
MP’s? Yes, I know there are some passionate MP’s out there who sincerely believe that politicians can make the world a better place. The problem is that, for every one good politician there are probably 10 with their
You might think that HMRC would be a good place to start. Actually, they’re no better. There’s been lots of talk about how the rich and famous have been dodging tax by using service companies to minimise their contributions. HMRC has promised to clamp down but the problem is that even some of their own employees were up to necks in it. That’s them out of the moral running stakes.
Maybe the Church could help shine a light on the best path through the moral maze? No, that’s probably not a good idea. If they really knew anything about finance and taxation all the priests, vicars, etc would be working in banks.
What about you and me? Sounds mad, I know, but, as a group, human beings make a pretty good job of doing the right thing. Yes, there have been some past failures in the ‘do-good’ stakes (Ghengis Khan, Ponzi schemes, etc) but they’re just blips! My question to Gauke is, “Why not let the people decide what’s morally acceptable?”
Which leads nicely on to…
What is morally wrong?
It’s all down to your own interpretation. Paying a builder cash in hand for a job that costs thousands is not only wrong but it’s probably illegal. Like it or not, we should all be paying our taxes.
But what about paying a cleaner or the person that washes your car cash in hand? Is it morally wrong?
You need to weigh it up for yourself. Let’s face it, cleaners aren’t going to be doing a moonlight flit to South America with a huge pile of cash. But anyone working for more than a few pounds per hour e.g. your cash in hand builder, well, that’s a different story. They should be paid through the books.
Now, I know I said everyone should pay tax but I would to add that not…
All Wages Are Equal
But we all know they’re not. That’s why we have different rates of taxation. The problem is that some people think the rich should be taxed even more. Even the 50% upper end tax on anyone earning over £150,000 failed to make as much money as the ‘experts’ calculated. Taxing high earners even harder will result in the leaving country and taking their skills with them.
In truth, the bulk of government tax revenue comes from you and I: the average earners. This revenue is used by the government pay for keeping UK PLC on the road and this is where the problems start. The reason why so much money is needed to run the country is because of the inefficient nature of many of our public services. Some of them are just a money pits.
Take the example of unemployment benefits. If you have no job you get the bare minimum you need to live on. Most of the useful stuff such as getting help paying for transport to a job interview has gone. When times get a little desperate then you start taking on…
Jobs That Pay Cash In Hand
Window cleaning, collecting golf balls for cash, working in a car wash, brick laying, etc. So, when you think about it, sometimes it might just be morally right to be morally wrong.
Just a quick note for anyone that didn’t know: David Gauke, the MP who said it’s morally wrong to pay cash in hand has no right to be holier than thou. In 2006/7, Mr Gauke used his parliamentary expenses to pay for the stamp duty on his second home. In total, he claimed back over £10,000 (a combination of Stamp Duty and solicitors fees, land registry and property searches.
Normally, I would have a problem with anyone using their expenses for a house purchase. In this case, he was effectively using your taxes to better himself!