Ian Spectre suffers from insomnia most nights, surprisingly not because he’s a terrible person and his conscience keeps him awake, but because he’s preoccupied with thinking up new ways to help Google and Apple avoid paying their taxes.
It was during one of his sleepless nights last summer, when his mind wandered away from big-business tax avoidance to not-for-profit tax avoidance.
Spectre has always hated charities, and disabled people – they get all this help from the government but it’s never enough.. Moan, moan, moan… ‘I’ll give them something to moan about’, he thought.
“I’m awake at night all the time and you don’t hear me complaining, I wonder how many of those do-gooders – who are clearly only working for charities to brag about it – are working at night. The care home over the road is always packed with workers, I bet they’re dodging tax somehow.”
So the following morning, Spectre set about finding out how charities pay night shift workers. Spectre had retired from the HMRC a recently but now provides services to them as a consultant, which basically means he has an on-demand desk and access to whatever information he wants, much to the frustration of his ‘co-workers’.
To his delight, he discovered that some charities employ people to sleep at work. “What a fantastic job, you just lie about for a few hours, easy-peasy. Well let’s make sure these free-loaders are paying their taxes”, he continued his investigation. He sent an email to Jack Anapes, a ‘colleague’ from the compliance department, and asked him to do all the leg work while he sat back and had a nice cup of tea – he’d had a rough night after all.
That afternoon, while Spectre was busy trying to figure out how to gouge more money from contractors via his Spect-IR35 scheme, he received an email back from Jack.
As per your request, here are the finer details of these non-for-profit customers and how they operate with over-night staff.
At the moment the employees are only paid for time awake. They’re paid a ‘flat rate’ allowance of £25-£35 for the hours they are asleep.
As they’re sleeping at their workplace we could demand they be paid minimum wage during these sleeping hours. Which surely would benefit the employees – after all, aren’t all the nurses up in arms about not getting a pay rise anyway? Plus it means we get some extra tax money, so this is a good move for everyone.
As you mentioned, we could back-date this demand as we have done in the past, that’s a great idea!
If we go ahead, the total tax we’ll gain somewhere in the region of £80 million and for NI about £103 million. So all in all we’re looking at around £183 million for tax, employees and employers NI (plus interest). This would somewhat negate the Apple and Google tax bills you wanted to avoid enforcing.
Let me know if I can be of any more help,
So Spectre put in a quick call to a colleague over at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), pointed out the atrocity of not paying sleep-in workers by the hour and demanded action. Terrified by the snarling lunatic on the other end of the phone, the BEIS employee promptly made the changes requested by Spectre, no questions asked.
Spectre grinned, his plan was going swimmingly! As of October 2016, care workers who slept at work were paid minimum wage overnight and HMRC managed to earn more as a result.
Flash-forward to July 2017 and Spectre is not so delighted…
“I can’t believe these charities are trying to disobey me! I mean… HMRC… They’re trying to disobey HMRC, hardly any of them have paid the past 6 years of wages, and subsequently tax, back. It’s not like they have no money, I’m always seeing those ads on the TV and what’s the blasted Lottery for anyway, they’re always supporting these do-gooder hippies!” he growled, “That’s it, I’m going to have to put my foot down, they have 6 weeks to pay it ALL back, otherwise there will be consequences, mark my word!”
Now for the really serious side of all of this. Ian Spectre is, of course, a fictional character. The previous blogs in which he has featured are tongue in cheek but are loosely based on the experiences individual clients of Warr & Co have had in their dealings with HMRC. This blog features something far more serious.
Little does Ian Spectre know, that most of the charities he’s forcing to pay a total of around £400 million in back-pay, receive funding exclusively from the Government. And that without additional funding from the Government, they can never hope to pay the 6 years –back-pay and the tax that goes along with it.
Spectre’s plan is intrinsically flawed in that by enforcing the historical payment of minimum wage for the last 6 years, many of these charitable organisations will collapse entirely. Leading to a crisis in the social care sector and increased strain on the NHS, which is at the point of complete failure itself. In addition, his plan will cause an unimaginable level of danger and distress for those who rely on and receive these overnight care services should the charities have to restrict them.
While it would be ideal to give more back to the fantastic social care workers in our communities, if the protocol doesn’t exist and the funding is not available it presents a troubling problem. And even more so if Spectre and his closed-minded HMRC cronies are unreasonably, and perhaps unlawfully, demanding back-pay for the last 6 years. The increased pay will mean nothing to the staff of charities who go bust and as a result, are made redundant.
It seems that Spectre and his HMRC friends have no idea that there’s a bigger picture which is about to come crashing down around their heads, likely damaging their iPhones and shiny new Pixel phones.
As we go to press, the government have temporarily suspended enforcement actions against these charities. They’ve currently granted the charities an additional month, let’s hope the suspension becomes permanent.