Fraud involving the tax status of lorry drivers is becoming a serious concern for the transport industry, according to the Road Haulage Association.
It said that haulage drivers are increasingly being paid as if they were self-employed rather than through PAYE.
It argues that while that is likely to be correct if the driver owns the truck, if the truck belongs to someone else the correct status is PAYE, regardless of where the payment is coming from.
The RHA argues that dodging the correct tax code means that the employer evades income tax and National Insurance and also a raft of drivers’ rights under employment law. This gives an unfair advantage over firms that work within the law.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Our concerns are for the health of the UK haulage sector. It is coming under increasing pressure to break the rules and hauliers who may inadvertently be paying drivers off payroll may face a heavy claim for back tax and penalties of up to 70 per cent of the tax and NI arising. Also, individual drivers could face bankruptcy if they evade tax payments and then HMRC enforces its rules.”