Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

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Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Ormurinn » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:58 am UTC

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Derek » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:20 am UTC

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

There are two primary reasons to give a discount for paying in cash: To avoid the fees credit card companies charge, and to avoid paying income tax on it. The first is fine, the second is tax evasion. Now I don't know how much of a discount British plumbers typically offer for paying in cash, but if we knew the number we could probably make a good guess about which of these two reasons is dominant: Is the percentage of the discount close to the credit card fees, or close to the income tax rate? Does the discount also apply to checks?

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby iamspen » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:39 am UTC

Wouldn't it be the plumber who fails to report cash income who is in the wrong?

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Obby » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:21 pm UTC

Maybe I missing some nuance in what is being said here, but it sounds like it's not much of a leap to go from this to "Hey, that cash stuff. Let's make that not legal tender anymore."
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Ormurinn » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:43 pm UTC

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

There are two primary reasons to give a discount for paying in cash: To avoid the fees credit card companies charge, and to avoid paying income tax on it. The first is fine, the second is tax evasion. Now I don't know how much of a discount British plumbers typically offer for paying in cash, but if we knew the number we could probably make a good guess about which of these two reasons is dominant: Is the percentage of the discount close to the credit card fees, or close to the income tax rate? Does the discount also apply to checks?


Basic is 20%, Higher is 40% - and kicks in at £34,371. Average wage for a plumber is around 30k - so its quite possible a good fraction of Plumbers are being asked to fork over two fifths of what they earn, and that's before National Insurance and any business taxes they might have to pay. I don't know what the average discount for paying in cash is, but I can't blame them for encouraging it to be honest.

iamspen wrote:Wouldn't it be the plumber who fails to report cash income who is in the wrong?


Legally, yes. Morally, I can't think of anyone who would consider it "Wrong." Certainly in the environment we're in at the moment the last thing we need is for the government to be putting the squeeze on skilled tradesmen who bring money into working-class communities.

Maybe if we didn't have this crappy, regressive, exorbitant tax system, people would go to less trouble to avoid it.

Obby wrote:Maybe I missing some nuance in what is being said here, but it sounds like it's not much of a leap to go from this to "Hey, that cash stuff. Let's make that not legal tender anymore."


I've heard that suggested before, but not by this guy.

I'm all in favour of removing legal tender laws actually, as long as we also remove taxes on raw commodities. Let the Market find it's own exchange medium.

"Lets make only electronic payment legal tender" though, is effectively evil.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Chen » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:59 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:Wouldn't it be the plumber who fails to report cash income who is in the wrong?


I think that point is made in one of the paragraphs. He's saying if you ask someone "can I get a discount if I pay cash" you're implicitly helping with the tax evasion if they give a discount and take said cash "under the table" so to speak.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Tirian » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:06 pm UTC

Obby wrote:Maybe I missing some nuance in what is being said here, but it sounds like it's not much of a leap to go from this to "Hey, that cash stuff. Let's make that not legal tender anymore."


That's still quite a leap. Between here and there is aggressively auditing tradesmen, like making certain that a licensed plumber has records of installing as many toilets as he bought in a year. But you'll still never get rid of the underground economy, because there's no stopping me as a layman from installing my neighbor's toilet in exchange for a few bucks that the government would never know about.

Scratch that -- I suppose the government COULD shift gears and tax the toilets at the point of purchase to cover the service on their eventual installation and lifetime of maintenance and then leave the plumbers alone. I don't know anything about the British tax code but what my sense leads me to think that this wouldn't be an unusual plan for them.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
iamspen wrote:Wouldn't it be the plumber who fails to report cash income who is in the wrong?


I think that point is made in one of the paragraphs. He's saying if you ask someone "can I get a discount if I pay cash" you're implicitly helping with the tax evasion if they give a discount and take said cash "under the table" so to speak.

I'm not responsible for filing the plumber's income taxes. Whether I pay in cash, bitcoins, or chickens, it's the plumber's responsibility to square it with the Man.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby kiklion » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:06 pm UTC

The questionable part is asking for a discount for paying in cash. Assuming that the discount is due to saving money for the plumber by not filing taxes. However the discount could also be for no risk of challenging the charge on the CC, for not paying the CC fee for processing the payment, for not needing to go to the bank to cash the check if you offered check etc.

The article worries me because it has turned the reporting from the CC companies from a benefit for the tax man, to becoming an assumed event such that they are complaining when people do not use CC.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Puppyclaws » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

I was going to say that I do consider it morally wrong to encourage cash payment in order to avoid taxation. And then I realized, I tip cash whenever possible because I know that this is a way for wait staff to avoid some portion of taxes. As much as I am a fan of taxation, I guess it's true that my concern is not so much with bus boys and plumbers paying their proper share.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Роберт » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:17 pm UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:I was going to say that I do consider it morally wrong to encourage cash payment in order to avoid taxation. And then I realized, I tip cash whenever possible because I know that this is a way for wait staff to avoid some portion of taxes. As much as I am a fan of taxation, I guess it's true that my concern is not so much with bus boys and plumbers paying their proper share.

Tipping cash, depending on your motives, is different. It's on the person who received to to report, and you're not getting any benefit either way. If someone charges you significantly less for a service if you pay in a way that facilitates tax evasion, it's a bit more on you as well.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby folkhero » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:21 pm UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:I was going to say that I do consider it morally wrong to encourage cash payment in order to avoid taxation. And then I realized, I tip cash whenever possible because I know that this is a way for wait staff to avoid some portion of taxes.

I do the same, but that's because I consider a tip to be a voluntary gift, not a payment for service. I know the IRS disagrees, but whatever, I'll let the waiter decide if he wants to report it or not.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby kiklion » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:26 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:
Puppyclaws wrote:I was going to say that I do consider it morally wrong to encourage cash payment in order to avoid taxation. And then I realized, I tip cash whenever possible because I know that this is a way for wait staff to avoid some portion of taxes.

I do the same, but that's because I consider a tip to be a voluntary gift, not a payment for service. I know the IRS disagrees, but whatever, I'll let the waiter decide if he wants to report it or not.


I remember reading a place that said credit card tips weren't given to the waiter until the paycheck arrived as well. Not so at the places I have worked at, there credit card tips were collected by management and you received cash the day of.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Chen » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:47 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:I'm not responsible for filing the plumber's income taxes. Whether I pay in cash, bitcoins, or chickens, it's the plumber's responsibility to square it with the Man.


The act of paying in cash itself is not a problem. Paying in cash so that the money can be hidden from taxes is a problem. If you're knowingly offering to pay in cash so that the person can avoid taxes (and hence the requesting of a discount) this is the action that people are opposed to. I mean the quote in article practically explains that:

"Yes, I think it's morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber, but it is pretty implicit in these circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy."

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby kiklion » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:13 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:I'm not responsible for filing the plumber's income taxes. Whether I pay in cash, bitcoins, or chickens, it's the plumber's responsibility to square it with the Man.


The act of paying in cash itself is not a problem. Paying in cash so that the money can be hidden from taxes is a problem. If you're knowingly offering to pay in cash so that the person can avoid taxes (and hence the requesting of a discount) this is the action that people are opposed to. I mean the quote in article practically explains that:

"Yes, I think it's morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber, but it is pretty implicit in these circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy."


Except that there are multiple reasons for a cash discount. It could be for immediate payment, removal of the option to dispute payment for the CC, don't need to go to a bank to cash a check, no credit card fees etc.

Assuming people are requesting a cash discount due to avoiding taxes is similar to assuming VPN's are only used for illegal means. Or the stupid saying 'Well if you did nothing wrong you have nothing to fear' that is brought up whenever privacy is invaded.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Derek » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:22 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:I do the same, but that's because I consider a tip to be a voluntary gift, not a payment for service. I know the IRS disagrees, but whatever, I'll let the waiter decide if he wants to report it or not.

Gifts are still taxable, at least in the US, although I think there are a number of possible and complicated exemptions. This has some information.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Tirian » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
folkhero wrote:I do the same, but that's because I consider a tip to be a voluntary gift, not a payment for service. I know the IRS disagrees, but whatever, I'll let the waiter decide if he wants to report it or not.

Gifts are still taxable, at least in the US, although I think there are a number of possible and complicated exemptions. This has some information.


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that folkhero is not in the habit of tipping individuals over $26,000 per year.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby sardia » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:52 pm UTC

kiklion wrote:Except that there are multiple reasons for a cash discount. It could be for immediate payment, removal of the option to dispute payment for the CC, don't need to go to a bank to cash a check, no credit card fees etc.

Assuming people are requesting a cash discount due to avoiding taxes is similar to assuming VPN's are only used for illegal means. Or the stupid saying 'Well if you did nothing wrong you have nothing to fear' that is brought up whenever privacy is invaded.

You're double counting a lot of things here. The risk of having someone dispute a credit card payment is equal to the credit card fee, because the credit card company is taking the risk here, and then charges you a fee to mitigate that risk. In addition, cash vs check doesn't save you any trips to the bank. At some point, you'll have to go to the bank and deposit that wad of paper.
Lastly, consider what the discount is for. If the credit card fee is 5%, and he gives you some of that when you pay in cash; that's one thing. If you ask a piece of the 20% tax, then that's tax evasion. It's disingenuous to ask for a discount, ignore why he's giving you a discount, and then cry foul when the government complains.
However, enforcing such a rule is going to be a pain for all except the most egregious offenders. I mean if you pay cash to avoid the cc fee, and then he pockets the tax money. Nobody is going to find out until they start asking how someone can afford a house with 0 income.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby kiklion » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:11 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
kiklion wrote:Except that there are multiple reasons for a cash discount. It could be for immediate payment, removal of the option to dispute payment for the CC, don't need to go to a bank to cash a check, no credit card fees etc.

Assuming people are requesting a cash discount due to avoiding taxes is similar to assuming VPN's are only used for illegal means. Or the stupid saying 'Well if you did nothing wrong you have nothing to fear' that is brought up whenever privacy is invaded.

You're double counting a lot of things here. The risk of having someone dispute a credit card payment is equal to the credit card fee, because the credit card company is taking the risk here, and then charges you a fee to mitigate that risk. In addition, cash vs check doesn't save you any trips to the bank. At some point, you'll have to go to the bank and deposit that wad of paper.
Lastly, consider what the discount is for. If the credit card fee is 5%, and he gives you some of that when you pay in cash; that's one thing. If you ask a piece of the 20% tax, then that's tax evasion. It's disingenuous to ask for a discount, ignore why he's giving you a discount, and then cry foul when the government complains.
However, enforcing such a rule is going to be a pain for all except the most egregious offenders. I mean if you pay cash to avoid the cc fee, and then he pockets the tax money. Nobody is going to find out until they start asking how someone can afford a house with 0 income.


If you only accept cash or CC, you then spend the money as cash. I was paid cash for quite awhile and probably went to the bank once a year. Even if you accept checks, if it is trouble getting to the bank, if enough of the payments are in CC/cash you can go less often as you have enough money in between visits.

From my reading you understand charge-backs incorrectly. The merchant is required to refund the original transaction, still pays the transaction fee AND has a chargeback fee added on. Different cards have different chargeback fees. Furthermore, is the time required to dispute such charges and even if you win, you don't get the money back right away and it may not be available for bills that you relied on it being available for. If you do work for someone, they pay cash, it is over. The transaction is complete and you don't need to worry about any shenanigans afterwords except for being sued for shoddy work, which nothing protects you from.

Though I do agree with your last statement. If you pay cash and the mechanic drops it from 126.43 to $120 it is likely not because he is going to be avoiding taxes, but because it avoids various fees and he has the money right away. If he drops it to $80, it is probably illegitimate.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Chen » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:19 pm UTC

kiklion wrote:Though I do agree with your last statement. If you pay cash and the mechanic drops it from 126.43 to $120 it is likely not because he is going to be avoiding taxes, but because it avoids various fees and he has the money right away. If he drops it to $80, it is probably illegitimate.


This is exactly what they're talking about. Not the 5% discount for not having to pay credit card fees but the 20-30% discount you can get so the person doesn't have to deal with the taxes/receipts etc. I mean maybe its less common where everyone here is from but asking "what about I pay you in cash instead?" almost always implies you're dealing under the table rather than above board. If you just want to use cash because you don't have a credit card or cheque or whatever you just give them the cash as normal when payment and the bill is presented.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

It would appear that there are only a couple of places where any type of mechanic or service person could discount. One would be his labor the other would be his markup against the cost of operating. I assume the conversation is about a sole proprietor type of operation. I would tend to operate under the assumption that the quality of the work I would receive as well as how call backs are handled would vary with off the books work as compared to normal operations.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby kiklion » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
kiklion wrote:Though I do agree with your last statement. If you pay cash and the mechanic drops it from 126.43 to $120 it is likely not because he is going to be avoiding taxes, but because it avoids various fees and he has the money right away. If he drops it to $80, it is probably illegitimate.


This is exactly what they're talking about. Not the 5% discount for not having to pay credit card fees but the 20-30% discount you can get so the person doesn't have to deal with the taxes/receipts etc. I mean maybe its less common where everyone here is from but asking "what about I pay you in cash instead?" almost always implies you're dealing under the table rather than above board. If you just want to use cash because you don't have a credit card or cheque or whatever you just give them the cash as normal when payment and the bill is presented.


I used to just pay cash when told the amount, but I no longer get paid cash so it is direct deposit. If I plan on paying in cash, I call up the mechanic and ask for an estimate so that I can go grab the cash from the bank. Asking about paying in a certain method should not be weighed at all when deciding if the payment is valid or not, only the size of the difference in charges between payment methods. Hell even if the guy straight up told you 'Can you pay me in cash so that I can avoid taxes?', if you already wanted to pay him in cash and the price wasn't reduced you shouldn't feel bad at all. Maybe call the IRS or respective agency but the right/wrong is entirely in the laborers field (assuming he already did the work and you can't just go elsewhere).

Assuming David Gauke said, word for word, what the article is titled, then I disagree severely with his choice of words. Otherwise I just disagree with the articles title, but agree about the underlying message.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Chen » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:11 pm UTC

I posted the exact quote from the article where he spoke about it being morally wrong. And it was clearly with regards to getting a discount when using cash so as to avoid paying taxes.

And yes, asking about a particular way to pay shouldn't be weighted when deciding if the payment is valid or not. That said, if it is common for people ask to pay in cash with the implicit assumption that it is for under the table work you need to take that into account when asking about paying. I'm not saying it SHOULD be like this, but simply that in many places it IS like this.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Yakk » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The risk of having someone dispute a credit card payment is equal to the credit card fee, because the credit card company is taking the risk here, and then charges you a fee to mitigate that risk.
No.

I'm pretty sure if you dispute a charge on a CC, the merchant takes the hit, and doesn't get to keep the money.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:17 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:No.

I'm pretty sure if you dispute a charge on a CC, the merchant takes the hit, and doesn't get to keep the money.

It can actually be both. If the credit card company determines that you (the purchaser) are in the right, they will often refund you the purchase before getting an agreement with the merchant. Afterwards, they will attempt to get a refund from the merchant -- if they have too many instances where they can't reach an amicable agreement, then I expect that will come up the next time they work on whatever legal contracts they need to have with each other to accept cards from that company. You could see it as similar to fraud -- they'll eat (much of) the cost of fraud right away if you can prove that you are a victim of credit card fraud, and then afterwards they'll probably make some attempt to get their money back from whoever else they can.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Coyne » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:06 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:Wouldn't it be the plumber who fails to report cash income who is in the wrong?


Yes.

They're presuming that you knowingly aid the plumber in tax evasion; that you're an accomplice. Which may or may not be the case, but there's no reason at all to presume it is the case.

But there is a move in GB and America and other places, to be absolutely sure the working class has to pay its taxes. Someone must, if government is to operate; and as the rich are paying nothing, it falls on the working class again.

So: We're the evil ones.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Yakk » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:22 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Yakk wrote:No.

I'm pretty sure if you dispute a charge on a CC, the merchant takes the hit, and doesn't get to keep the money.
It can actually be both. If the credit card company determines that you (the purchaser) are in the right, they will often refund you the purchase before getting an agreement with the merchant. Afterwards, they will attempt to get a refund from the merchant -- if they have too many instances where they can't reach an amicable agreement, then I expect that will come up the next time they work on whatever legal contracts they need to have with each other to accept cards from that company. You could see it as similar to fraud -- they'll eat (much of) the cost of fraud right away if you can prove that you are a victim of credit card fraud, and then afterwards they'll probably make some attempt to get their money back from whoever else they can.
Except, they are writing the agreement with the merchant. And when I talk to merchants, from what I can tell the CC company just screws them.

It isn't as if the CC company would (usually) have to sue the merchant, if they set up the agreement aggressively. Simply set up the agreement such that, in the event of a disputed charge, future payments via the payment clearing mechanism are used to pay for the dispute. And merchants I've talked to about CC terminals imply this is the kind of thing that happens.

Maybe a "big" customer can pull off enough clout to not get that kind of treatment.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:40 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Except, they are writing the agreement with the merchant. And when I talk to merchants, from what I can tell the CC company just screws them.

It isn't as if the CC company would (usually) have to sue the merchant, if they set up the agreement aggressively. Simply set up the agreement such that, in the event of a disputed charge, future payments via the payment clearing mechanism are used to pay for the dispute. And merchants I've talked to about CC terminals imply this is the kind of thing that happens.

Maybe a "big" customer can pull off enough clout to not get that kind of treatment.

It might happen that way often, I don't know. I'm just pointing out that it's not automatic that the merchant is the one that foots the bill for a disputed charge -- I am certain that the scenario you have drawn out does happen with merchants with less bargaining power, but how many disputed charges are with them? I doubt it's automatic that Visa will get their money back if there's a disputed charge at Walmart (or Best Buy, Verizon, Amazon, Delta, HP, etc.) and they accept the purchaser's dispute.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby johnny_7713 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:07 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Yakk wrote:Except, they are writing the agreement with the merchant. And when I talk to merchants, from what I can tell the CC company just screws them.

It isn't as if the CC company would (usually) have to sue the merchant, if they set up the agreement aggressively. Simply set up the agreement such that, in the event of a disputed charge, future payments via the payment clearing mechanism are used to pay for the dispute. And merchants I've talked to about CC terminals imply this is the kind of thing that happens.

Maybe a "big" customer can pull off enough clout to not get that kind of treatment.

It might happen that way often, I don't know. I'm just pointing out that it's not automatic that the merchant is the one that foots the bill for a disputed charge -- I am certain that the scenario you have drawn out does happen with merchants with less bargaining power, but how many disputed charges are with them? I doubt it's automatic that Visa will get their money back if there's a disputed charge at Walmart (or Best Buy, Verizon, Amazon, Delta, HP, etc.) and they accept the purchaser's dispute.


Are CC payments for things like plumbing common in the UK? Because here in the Netherlands I would expect to receive a bill which I would settle via a direct bank transfer (costs about 5 cents for the plumber, depending on the deal he has with the bank). Maybe things are different in other countries, but here asking to be paid in cash for labour is pretty much synonymous with tax evasion. Then again our banking system seems to be pretty advanced compared to some other countries. Cheques no longer exist, if you want to send someone money you just do a bank transfer, salaries are also nearly always paid by direct bank transfer (unless your employer wants to keep them off the books).

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby poxic » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:23 pm UTC

Closest we have in North America is a debit card, which is basically using an ATM card to make a bank transfer to the merchant. I think it costs the merchant $0.25 around here.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby pizzazz » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:16 am UTC

Am I the only one who wants to question the assumption that tax evasion is inherently immoral? If you believe your government is going to take immoral actions with the tax revenue, or even if you believe the government has no right to more than X% of your income or Y dollars per person, where X or Y is less than the current tax rate, wouldn't it be morally allowable to evade those taxes?

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby sardia » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:01 am UTC

pizzazz wrote:Am I the only one who wants to question the assumption that tax evasion is inherently immoral? If you believe your government is going to take immoral actions with the tax revenue, or even if you believe the government has no right to more than X% of your income or Y dollars per person, where X or Y is less than the current tax rate, wouldn't it be morally allowable to evade those taxes?

You can take those beliefs straight to jail, or to a less litigious country. A less extreme response is to use leverage like minded people into political action, which changes government into more agreeable form. You still have to pay for it until you do though.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Zamfir » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:54 am UTC

@Pizzazz, yes, i can imagine that people object so heavily to the government's actions that they morally don't want to pay taxes.

But I doubt that many people(including myself) can honestly make such moral decisions, if we stand to gain so clearly from it. It's just too tempting.

For example, how many people with hidden income send anonymous donations to their kids' schools, or sell their car because they don't pay their share of the roads? Let alone to the department that inspects the safety measures of the local chemical industry? How many of those people will return their old-age benefits to the government, even when they happen to have saved too little for a comfortable private retirement?

And that's just the stuff where you benefit in a fairly direct way from other people's taxes. There's also more indirect stuff, like not having to put your parents-in-law in your house, because they get a government pension. And political tradeoffs, where your tax money goes to stuff you don't value, in return for other people's contributions to stuff that you value more.

Perhaps it's possible to untangle that knot of complications to get a true account of which tax-funded services you do value and benefit from, and make sure that your tax dodging is from moral principles and doesn't freeload on other people's taxes.

But requires both a very good and detailed understanding of political economy, plus a near-saintly honesty.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Derek » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:Are CC payments for things like plumbing common in the UK? Because here in the Netherlands I would expect to receive a bill which I would settle via a direct bank transfer (costs about 5 cents for the plumber, depending on the deal he has with the bank). Maybe things are different in other countries, but here asking to be paid in cash for labour is pretty much synonymous with tax evasion. Then again our banking system seems to be pretty advanced compared to some other countries. Cheques no longer exist, if you want to send someone money you just do a bank transfer, salaries are also nearly always paid by direct bank transfer (unless your employer wants to keep them off the books).

How do you go about authorizing a bank transfer? That's kind of what checks exist for. As mentioned, we have debit cards in the US which work like credit cards, but take money directly from your bank account. There are other ways to authorize transfers, but unless they happen regularly (such as a salary), they're usually more effort than writing a check.

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby yurell » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:34 pm UTC

I think I've seen a cheque about twice in my life; all my bills are paid with direct withdrawal and my pay is (was) deposited directly into my bank account.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby lutzj » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:53 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:For example, how many people with hidden income send anonymous donations to their kids' schools, or sell their car because they don't pay their share of the roads?


We're not really talking about the US, but in those regions the lion's share of funding for schools and roads comes from things like local property taxes. One might pay most of their taxes but hide income because they don't agree with some of the specific things done with federal money (i.e., wars).
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby sardia » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
Zamfir wrote:For example, how many people with hidden income send anonymous donations to their kids' schools, or sell their car because they don't pay their share of the roads?


We're not really talking about the US, but in those regions the lion's share of funding for schools and roads comes from things like local property taxes. One might pay most of their taxes but hide income because they don't agree with some of the specific things done with federal money (i.e., wars).

You are saying that one might not pay 100% of their federal taxes because of 25% of the federal budget is objectionable. I'm not saying you are for it, but I find it pretty lazy when people propose not paying for taxes as their protest of choice. It's pretty disingenuous to say "I don't like x that the government does, so I'm not gonna pay for anything, oh and by the way, saving 20% of my income is just a happy coincidence."

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Mittagessen » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:15 pm UTC

Derek wrote:How do you go about authorizing a bank transfer? ... There are other ways to authorize transfers, ... they're usually more effort than writing a check.


You don't. I just give my bank account number (or IBAN + BIC for inner-European transfers) to the seller and she can transfer money from my account (of course it's possible to revert this and the transfer clears only after 14 days). Significantly less hassle than writing a check and apparantly of comparable security (which is to say: none).

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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby lutzj » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:43 pm UTC

sardia wrote:You are saying that one might not pay 100% of their federal taxes because of 25% of the federal budget is objectionable. I'm not saying you are for it, but I find it pretty lazy when people propose not paying for taxes as their protest of choice. It's pretty disingenuous to say "I don't like x that the government does, so I'm not gonna pay for anything, oh and by the way, saving 20% of my income is just a happy coincidence."


Well it's not a simple matter of only paying part of one's taxes. Many taxes fund specific things. If you support the use of taxes to support those specific things and nothing else (e.g., property taxes for schools and gasoline taxes for roads), and nothing else, then it seems like an internally-consistent position to only pay those taxes.
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Re: Paying in Cash "Morally Wrong" Says Exchequer Secretary.

Postby Jonesthe Spy » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:57 pm UTC

I'll just chime in that I prefer to pay be check just for that extra bit of security. If the plumbing problem you thought was fixed starts spraying water 12 hours or later, or the item you bought off craigslist turns out to have a hidden flaw, being able to stop payment on the check gives you a lot more leverage to get the problem dealt with than if you handed over cash.

Yes, I do know this from unfortunate experience.


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