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Its just not cricket

Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club have received a bill for £14,403, an assessment of what the club owed the HMRC in untaxed earnings of bar staff, accommodation and perks for professionals and a series of other items dating back to 2008.

The only thing I find surprising is it took HMRC so long to go and visit them. Most amateur clubs, small charities and similar non-profitmaking community organisations only survive because of the long hours of labour by a committed and wonderful band of volunteers. The organisation is always short of money (lets have another raffle..!) and runs on a shoestring. Professional help is limited because frankly they cannot afford it. They rarely have full time staff.

So far so good. But then comes the problem. The committee agree to give a bit of money to one or more of the volunteers who does more than the others. Maybe he cuts the grass, acts as caretaker, serves behind the bar.

It’s not a living wage.

Its probably below the national minimum wage.

There is no contract of employment.

It is simply a small(ish) thank you for helping out.

But in HMRC eyes it is salary. So please can they have the tax and NI. And penalties for paying below the national minimum wage. And interest for late payment

In theory they are right of course. Totally right.

But what if the cut is too deep and they kill off the organisation? What has our society lost if these community groups are forced to the wall as a result?

Pass me the raffle tickets…