Q. I work as a receptionist in a start-up with four employees; me, the accountant, office manager and the secretary. My boss is deceitful.
First, he ordered the accountant to manipulate our payslips to indicate that we get paid less than we actually earn.
This means that I underpay my PAYE. Secondly, my job offer states that lunch would be catered for on working days, a promise that has never been
fulfilled. Should I approach my boss with my misgivings or should I just quit and job hunt? I have worked here for only six months.
Start-ups have many challenges to deal with, particularly revenue generation, therefore, it is tempting for proprietors to take short cuts, including evading taxes.
This appears to be the case with your employer, whose value system seems to be eroded.
It seems that your boss is using this as a wider scheme for tax evasion. By officially reflecting less income for his employees, he is also reducing the actual revenues generated, which is illegal.
According to the law, while it is the employer’s responsibility to remit the taxes for all employees, it is still the employee’s responsibility to ensure that the full tax on their income is fully paid, hence why you are required to submit your tax returns on an annual basis.
In this case, you are colluding with your employer to evade taxes. It is therefore important to politely raise this concern with your boss and request that the accountant indicate the correct income on your payslip and remit the correct taxes as you do not want to face the risk of being accused of tax evasion.
Indicate that you are prepared to take home less income than you are currently getting.
Note that he may decline your suggestion to regularise the taxation of your income. In case this happens, my advice is that you start looking for a job – hopefully, you will be gone by the time the tax authorities come knocking.
Since the issue of lunch is a contractual obligation, raise it with him politely since it is illegal to contravene any section of the contract that is mutually agreed upon between an employee and employer.
It might not be feasible to engage a service provider to provide lunch for only four employees, so suggest lunch allowance as an alternative.
It seems that you have strong values which you truly believe in, which explains why you are disturbed by your employer’s dishonest behaviour. An employer who contravenes the rules of taxation and a contract which is legally binding is not one I would encourage you to continue having a long-term relationship with.