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Window Cleaning Issues - Canvassing, pole systems, pricing, problems, etc.


Posted by samjam (samjam), 3 December 2003
A friend of mine(mmmmm) has been window cleaning part time for about a year without going down the conventional taxation routes.If he now decides to inform the inland revenue that he wants to start his own window cleaning business,how does he explain not paying tax or NI for the last year and not claiming dole.....Huh
Posted by pdhanson (Silly Philly), 3 December 2003
Hi Samjam

Naughty boy!  You wouldnt have had to pay tax anyway until about a year and six months after you had started, and even then only if you'd earned over the personal allowance limit (cant remember exactly, but its about £4500)

If you tell them you are starting now, they'll probably ask a few questons about how you have been affording to live.  If you dont have good answers, you might be investigated.  (ALL your financial affairs for the previous 6 years.  They have the power to request your bank statements directly from your bank)

If you just tell the truth, the worst you'll get is a £100 penalty for late notification, and maybe a bill for the NI you mssed (£2 a week) They'll send you a tax return for the year ending april 5 2003, which will have to be in by January 31st 2004.

Personally, I recommend just coming clean.  Apart from any moral question, they are much more likely to initiate a full investigation if you act dodgey, or tell them one thing then another.

Why didnt you tell them when you started? Avoiding tax is not a good idea.  Tax pays for things we all use and need, fire service, police, hospitals, schools.  When people avoid paying, it makes it more expensive for the rest of us.

Posted by Fox (Fox), 3 December 2003
I totally agree with Silly Philly on this one.  It is never a good idea to avoid the tax man.

You said it was part time work, Silly is right that you wouldn't pay tax on certain earnings, so you may not have been over the limit, this is usually £4,610 but it does change depending on circumstances.

If working for someone else at the same time then you should have been paying basic rate on all your earnings if you used your tax allowance on first employment.

Yup - only way to do it is to come clean, after all sounds like a serious business is about to be set up, make sure it's all above board.

Posted by paul (paul), 3 December 2003
Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 3 December 2003
Hi Samjam,  just tell them when you started and they`ll backdate it and let you know what you owe with maybe a penalty. They could find out when you started if they want to.     Gerry.
Posted by matt (matt), 3 December 2003
it will only be a 100 quid late fine

As every1 has said above, come clean and pay, otherwise they will catch you in the end, and the fines and interest will soon add up , i know some1 who will be paying his 8 year tax bill for the rest of his working life, the interest on it is rather high  Cry
Posted by samjam (samjam), 4 December 2003
would i need to register as a business first or would they do it for me.Also would they be asking for proof of earnings? as most of it is done from memory and with a bookI would imagine that not everyone declares all what they earn.Is it up to me to tell them what I earn..Or also,would an accountant do all this for me?
Posted by fez (fez), 4 December 2003
You should just tell the truth, there will be no comeback at all. I've checked for you (my mum works for the Inland Revenue!). There's no penalty at all and provided thet you've got all your business receipts, you'll be able to claim for all the equipment that you have bought excluding the gear bought to set up.

Even if you got shopped by a customer, there would be no comeback as long as you then declared what you'd been doing. Big businesses swindle millions out of the Inland Revenue every year, they are not as bothered about small businesses as you may think. Grin
Posted by fez (fez), 4 December 2003
on 12/03/03 at 21:25:00, matt wrote:
it will only be a 100 quid late fine

As every1 has said above, come clean and pay, otherwise they will catch you in the end, and the fines and interest will soon add up , i know some1 who will be paying his 8 year tax bill for the rest of his working life, the interest on it is rather high †Cry

The £100 fine is only for businesses that fail to hand in their self cert forms on time, not for initial, late declarations as in samjam's case.

Posted by samjam (samjam), 4 December 2003
Thanks for the research...Im still a bit unsure as to what to do first.Either register a new business or inform inland revenue exactly how long ive been working and how much. to be honest id probably be declaring about 100 a week ,i know that tax starts at 89 per week but i want to start paying.Also what happens as my income increases,as im hoping to double my work in the new year coz im only part time at the moment
Posted by fez (fez), 4 December 2003
If you check my thread about registering a business name, there's quite a lot of advice about registering.
Here's what I did: Decided on a name, then I opened a business account with a bank using that name so that I can use it for cheques, then I told the tax office about my name change.

When you tell the tax office about your business name, just say that you've been working a while under your own name - i.e. your surname on a (very) part time basis. They'll then help you out with all the ins and outs of running a small business and tell you what you can claim for against your tax, such as clothing allowance and vehicle running costs. You'll be amazed how little (if any) you'll pay in your first year. Next year you'll be able to buy a pure water system instead of paying your tax bill (as I hope to do)! Wink
Posted by samjam (samjam), 4 December 2003
also wondering if theyll want to recoup NI contributions and tax ive missed for last couple of years.Do you tell them initially how much you are earning or do they leave it to you for the first year?
Posted by pdhanson (Silly Philly), 4 December 2003
You may find this little leaflet helpful,  its from the inland rev website:

Posted by matt (matt), 4 December 2003
on 12/04/03 at 14:46:00, fez wrote:
The £100 fine is only for businesses that fail to hand in their self cert forms on time, not for initial, late declarations as in samjam's case.

Correct to a degree, BUT if you dont declare your working SE, you also have a 100 quid payment to make, think its within 3 months of starting

Posted by samjam (samjam), 4 December 2003
very helpful  cheers.Think im going to have to post date the business start up date a bit.
Posted by matt (matt), 4 December 2003
i know the last statement i made is true, as i have just started, well 6 months ago

and i was all keen and forgot tax etc,

WHat i did, was write to the tax office and say this is the second time i have written i am still waiting for a start up pack, they wrote to me and explained i wouldnt have to pay the fine Wink
Posted by scwindowcleaning (scwindowcleaning), 4 December 2003

I started window cleaning 3 wks ago, I do it 3 days a week and work 40 hrs/week in a full time job on the remaining 4 days. I have not yet reqistered with the IR. When I register will I be able to claim the cost of my roof bar, a-frame ladders and other equipment as expenses, or will they be classed as start up costs? I plan to go full time within 2 months, so should I register now as part time earnings, or wait til I quit my job and register as full time?

Posted by matt (matt), 4 December 2003
you wouldhave to work out the costs of the equipment and the tax you would pay, my guess if you have a full time job aswell, you would paya  fair whack in tax

might be worth not telling any1, then use the reciepts as a start-up cost, if its only a few months, this way if the IR ask you why the date is b4 you started, you can expalin you got the equipment and then did canvassing etc and didnt start till you had enough customers
Posted by scwindowcleaning (scwindowcleaning), 4 December 2003
What do you use to prove your income? Do you hand over your job book or do you just give an estimation. I use George, will I have to show it to the tax man?

Posted by samjam (samjam), 5 December 2003
thats one of my problems as well.Im sure no window cleaner declares all his work,so what is the best option.
Posted by Fox (Fox), 5 December 2003
Hi guys

Have you not listened to a word said? Are you so SURE samjam?  

I sub contract to a very reputable window cleaner who is VAT reg'd.  I am SURE he declares ALL of his income.

My income is all declared and I pay the right amount of tax and NI so why shouldn't you.

Not everyone wants to cheat the system - as said earlier it pays for our services.

Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 5 December 2003
Hi samjam
I think your right If every window cleaner came up to you or me and said they have declared everything all through there working life in window cleaning I must say I would think they are talking a load of bull.
I donít know if big brother is looking on here but I bet you will have more people say they do declare everything but thatís up to them everyone starts some where and I bet main priority is not to the system when people first start.

Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 5 December 2003
Hi samjam
another thing have you been doing windowcleaning as well as another job where you have been paying tax.
if so with any of your window cleaning you do, have you had to put in a invoice to get your money.
Posted by pdhanson (Silly Philly), 5 December 2003
"SURE" no-one declares everything?  Why judge others by your own standards?

Fair's fair, you should pay what you owe (not what you think you can get away with).  

If you get investigated, they may not see all your income going through a bank account, but the main thing they analyse is expenditure.

Believe me, they are on to ALL of the tricks.  It is a myth that because you're paid cash, that's untraceable.  Wrong.  They can find out if they want to, and they have unlimited patience.  They already investigate 1 in 10 tax returns randomly, its no trouble for them to take a look at a slightly suspicious case.

And its our pockets your picking by not paying, because we pay more.

Do the right thing

Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 5 December 2003
Hi silly philly
I agree with you, you should not think you can get one over the I/R by trying to take them for a ride they are not daft I know people that have had them waiting and following them right through there hole round and would think it would be quite embarrassing when your called in to explain why certain jobs are not on your accounts but I donít believe that if certain people donít declare what they do for a second income it will come out of our pocket. We could be getting into the politics now we pay more because of the government spending on different issues is getting out of control.
Who is paying for the many thousands of people coming into this country for example we are not paying more because joke bloggs is not paying into the system. If he was would we all get rebates/lower tax bills?

Posted by pdhanson (Silly Philly), 5 December 2003
yes, we would indeed get lower tax bills.

I read that if tax evasion were eradicated then basic rate tax would fall to 17% instead of 22% as it now is.  On someone earning £20,000 that would be a tax bill of about £700 per year less.

As for what the government spends our money on, if you dont agree with them, surely the way to show it is at the polling station, not by comitting a crime.

Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 5 December 2003
Hi silly philly
You make it sound so easy I am Shaw it is not as easy as that, I donít think that all what is printed is true.
But lets get one thing straight I pay my taxes and believe me more then enough but I am not going to paint a picture to make myself look something I am not.
If someone out there wants to do a sideline to help him/her self or his/her family out I am not going to stand out on this forum trying to make myself look something I'm not. Good luck to them.
But do fill different about someone signing on and doing it

Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 5 December 2003
I think Samjam wants the answer that HE wants to hear ie. that he shouldn`t pay tax, or as little as possible. I don`t think moralising will change his mind. I pay tax not because it benefits society but because I don`t want to be hit with a huge bill should I get caught out. You could work all your life and not pay a penny but you could also end up with a bill for thousands.  




Posted by matt (matt), 5 December 2003
This thread is funny really

how many on here will hold there hands up and say, i dont like paying taxs, i try to pay as little as possible,

well i will

i dont like paying tax's, as some of it is spent on layabout assylum seekers who are out to bleed the system dry, while my mother who is over 60, cannot have a council grant to fx the rear wall on her house (lack of funding they say Sad)

I try and pay as little tax as possible, all legit, i will be claiming for my phone, for my car and for my new PC, and all my new equipment, its all legit, i will decalre what i earn, and then i will pay my tax bill

ive said it now
Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 5 December 2003
Hi Matt
I'll second it too.
I too hate paying tax.
The whole system is wrong and wonít be sorted out on a vote every 4 years, if only it was true.
When it comes to self assessments etc I would of thought most companies out there do what they can to pay as little as possible.

Posted by simonb (simonb), 5 December 2003
The best option is to use an accountant.
It will cost £300 or so but it will save more than that in tax as they know exactly what can be claimed and have u tried filling out your tax return?
Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 5 December 2003
Hi simonb
During the year I keep my books up to date then all my books go to my dads and his accountant does both of our accounts together.

Posted by samjam (samjam), 6 December 2003
think some of you must have read me wrong.All I was implieing was that window cleaners may have some small income to rely on in winter months and when customers dont pay up.How exactly can you predict a weekly wage under these circumstances?

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