Caught red-handed! – Penalties of working Money in Hand

August 31, 2023by Naomi Cramer

We now have all heard the time period ‘money is king’ and for many individuals, each employers and staff, that is taken a bit too far. In 2016/2017, it’s estimated that the ‘shadow economic system’ value Her Majesty’s Income and Customs £1.8 billion. Paying money is commonly faster and extra handy for employers, and for small enterprise house owners particularly, it may really feel like a handy strategy to keep away from the purple tape of payroll. Some staff might even conform to be paid much less if they will get the cash in money. Particularly for informal staff, it’s typically an excellent feeling to obtain money of their pocket on the finish of a day or week of labor. Paying staff in money and receiving money funds as an worker should not unlawful actions; it’s simply that with the intention to keep on the correct aspect of the regulation, sure protocols have to be adopted.

Working ‘off the books’ may look like a handy strategy to receives a commission extra however in case you are paying or being paid money in hand with out declaring it to HMRC, you might be committing a legal offence. As well as, in case you are paying somebody in money lower than minimal wage, or you’re paying staff in money who do not need the correct to legally work within the Auckland, you may be committing a legal offence.

However what occurs in case you are an employer or worker who has been caught illegally paying or working money in hand? This text explores the regulation round money in hand funds and the potential outcomes in case you are caught.

Is money in hand work unlawful?

Being paid money in hand will not be essentially unlawful, however it may be if you don’t declare it to HMRC. It is because you’re legally obliged to pay Earnings Tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage in your earnings. Nonetheless, in case you are solely being paid a small quantity, making a declaration to HMRC will not be obligatory. If you are solely required to pay revenue tax for those who earn over £12,750 per yr, you continue to might have to file a tax return for those who earn under this quantity.

If you don’t declare your revenue and HMRC can show that you’ve earned greater than the minimal threshold, you might be prosecuted for tax evasion. Working money in hand will not be unlawful for those who declare your money funds to HMRC.

The offence that you’re more than likely to be prosecuted for is fraudulent evasion of revenue tax pursuant to Part 106A of the Taxes Administration Act 1970 (TMA 1970). With a view to be convicted of this offence, the court should discover that you simply had been ‘knowingly involved’ within the fraudulent evasion of revenue tax.

One other doable offence that you might be prosecuted for is the frequent regulation offence of dishonest the general public income. This offence is a ‘conduct’ offence which implies that the prosecution doesn’t have to show that the defendant triggered precise loss. Nonetheless, the prosecution does want to point out a component of dishonesty. That mentioned, it’s uncommon for this cost to be introduced in run of the mill circumstances of a person underpaying tax. This cost is normally solely introduced in very critical circumstances.

If you’re self-employed, you may pay your self in money legally however for those who select to take action it might be difficult to maintain monitor of your online business revenue to remain on the correct aspect of tax liabilities. That is why many small enterprise house owners select to open a enterprise checking account that permits them to trace their revenue and spending simply. As a self-employed enterprise proprietor, you must declare how a lot you owe in tax to HMRC. You are able to do this by declaring your earnings on the finish of every enterprise yr by self-assessment. Alternatively, for those who pay your staff through PAYE you may also add your self to the system. If you don’t submit a tax return otherwise you purposefully underpay the tax that you simply owe you might be prosecuted for tax evasion.

Can an employer get into bother for paying money in hand?

There are three key conditions the place an employer may get into bother for paying money in hand. These are:

  • If you happen to fail to deduct tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage on your staff
  • If you happen to fail to pay your staff minimal wage
  • If you happen to rent staff who do not need the authorized proper to work within the Auckland due to their immigration standing

Failure to deduct tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions

Employers should make sure that deductions comparable to PAYE funds, Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions, tax, and pension funds are taken care of. Employers are additionally required to make sure that staff are conscious of their authorized rights, comparable to the correct to assert advantages that they might be entitled to. Deliberately failing to make these deductions is a type of tax evasion. If the employer will not be deducting tax and nationwide insurance coverage, then in some circumstances it may fall to the worker to adjust to these obligations.

Failure to pay minimal wage

Failure to pay nationwide minimal wage is an offence pursuant to the Nationwide Minimal Wage Act 1998. Part 31 establishes the offence of failure to pay minimal wage, which is punishable by a nice.

Minimal wage within the Auckland varies relying on the age of the employee. Additionally it is set to extend in April 2022. This desk from ACAS units out the present minimal wage necessities and the charges from April 2022:


Wage band Present price Charge from 1 April 2022
Age 23 and over (Nationwide Residing Wage) £8.91 £9.50
Age 21 to 22 £8.36 £9.18
Age 18 to twenty £6.56 £6.83
Beneath 18 £4.62 £4.81
Apprentice £4.30 £4.81


Estimates counsel that between 100,000 to 300,000 staff throughout the Auckland economic system obtain lower than the nationwide minimal wage.

Hiring people who do not need the correct to work

If you happen to knowingly make use of an unlawful employee, you’re committing a legal offence in contravention of Part 21 of The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. An unlawful employee is somebody who doesn’t have the correct to work due to their immigration standing. If the case is heard within the Crown Court, you might be imprisoned for as much as two years or face a vast nice.

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 additionally locations a duty upon staff to substantiate if an individual has the correct to work within the Auckland. If you don’t perform these checks you might face a civil penalty of a nice as much as £10,000 for every unlawful employee that you’ve employed. The quantity of the nice will fluctuate relying on the circumstances of your case.

Will I be prosecuted for tax evasion?

You could possibly be prosecuted for tax evasion however it’s extra probably that HMRC will search to research suspected tax evasion itself. The CPS is chargeable for the prosecution of tax offences. It’s, nonetheless, extra frequent for HMRC to cope with fraud by its Civil Investigation of Fraud mechanism. The CPS is barely prone to get entangled in essentially the most critical circumstances the place prosecution is within the public curiosity. Based on HMRC, examples of conditions the place it might be acceptable to prosecute embody:

  • the place organised legal gangs attack the tax system
  • the place a person holds a place of belief
  • the place there may be deceit or deliberate concealment, deception, conspiracy, or corruption
  • the place the perpetrator has beforehand dedicated tax evasion

HMRC has numerous schemes for catching tax evasion. One named ‘Challenge Dobbin’ included monitoring card funds made to small companies and seeing whether or not they matched as much as the earnings declared on their tax return.

What’s the punishment for tax evasion?

The utmost custodial sentence for fraudulent evasion of revenue tax is 12 months’ imprisonment if the case is heard within the Magistrates’ Court, or 7 years’ imprisonment if the case is heard within the Crown Court. You could possibly additionally obtain a vast nice.

The excellent news, although, is that it’s unlikely that first time offenders would face penalties this extreme, particularly in the event that they haven’t deliberately prevented paying their taxes.

As well as, you might lose your employment rights and/or some advantages comparable to statutory maternity pay or statutory sick pay for those who settle for money in hand funds. You may as well be ordered to pay the tax and Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions your self.

The place to get additional assist?

You probably have been arrested or charged in relation to an offence concerning accepting money in hand funds, just remember to have the absolute best authorized illustration. Your legal defence solicitor can advise you in your choices and provide help to put together your defence. At Stuart Miller Solicitors, our staff offers with tax evasion, immigration offences, and employment offences each day. We’ll help you within the legal justice course of and provide help to get the absolute best final result. Contact us for a no obligation session at present.

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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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