Beaters and Pickers-Up. Any clear guidance?

Territory Hunting

Virbius

Well-Known Member
Yesterday an eNewsletter was issued from Guns-on-Pegs that appeared to state that Beaters cannot be deemed as Self-Employed - HMRC has apparently made this clear. This seems to contradict the current inconclusive advice from a number of organisation (NGO, BASC, CA, GMCT et al.) and what we believed to be a way forward by treating them as self-employed.

There is still no real clarity on how shoots are to deal with beaters and pickers-up, has anyone who is running a shoot got any clear guidance and satisfactory solution as to how they are going to deal with this?

Please, please, please do not use this thread as an excuse to castigate HMRC or taxation generally or a lack of guidance from any organisation (as a similar thread on this topic appears to have degenerated into). This is a serious issue and I would prefer it discussed as such.
 

norma 308

Well-Known Member
Our shoot is a non commercial family farm shoot ,my boss collects off his regular guns monies for the beaters each shoot ,I then pay the beaters .on two large shoots I visit it is also still up in the air as to what will happen this season .myself and my mate would still visit as we get the stalking for nothing so don't want paying anyways ,it's going to be tricky what ever happens .
good post chap and like you hope a Sencible debate ensues .
​norma
 

Virbius

Well-Known Member
Thanks Norma,
I'm hoping to discuss this subject next week at the CLA Game Fair, hopefully there will be some useful input from this thread as background information. With the number of commercial shoots in the UK, I would hope that there will be clear guidance soon.
It is oddly satisfying that the two large shoots you mention are still unsure - at least it's not just me!
 

stag1933

Well-Known Member
Presumably the beaters are in `gainful employment` elsewhere for the rest of the week.
If so their payment for such extra activities would I believe be taxable and should be declared by the recipient.
I can see similar problems popping up with paid helpers at clay shoots for example.

HWH.
 

Virbius

Well-Known Member
Not necessarily stag.
Naturally, each beater and picker-up will have different circumstances - the Saturday/holiday beater who is still at school, the retired, pensioners, part-timers, self-employed within the industry, some who beat on other shoots, some who don't, keepers form neighbouring shoots etc, etc. The main issue seems to be whether the individual is an employee or self-employed and whether the work can be deemed as casual.
Various shooting organisations appear to be stating that it is the shoot owners responsibility to satisfy themselves whether each individual is employee/self-employed. However, the Guns-on-Pegs article appears to contradict this as it states that the HMRC haver stipulated that a beater is an employee and cannot be deemed as self-employed.
 

perdix

Well-Known Member
Some beaters will be on the dole for sure but the vast majority of ours were retired or had taken holidays from their employment to beat.
The thing that worries me is that a lot of beaters only get their expenses covered with their beating money and if they are to pay tax on that it may lead to them being out of pocket.A rise in beating money may lead to less beaters being taken on making life a little harder for keepers to present their birds on shoot days.And then there is the minimum wage issue!
 

paul o'

Well-Known Member
i still have no direction on this ,as a beater who is on med retirment due to injury no one can say yes or no i don't get job seekers as i'am as thay say unfit for my role ? and trying to get retrained at 53 is like asking to see your own doctor!! my shoot has told me as it is some farmers who own and just do it cos thay can we get paid out of pocket and our ni numbers will not be put farward, as this is as per thay have been told ! so if the shoots are being told one thing and hmrc are saying something diff how the hell is it going to work in 13+ weeks time :cuckoo:



NB: If you look at from the otherway anti shooting game birds what better way to put an end to our sporting rights :-| :banned:
 
Last edited:

al4x1

Well-Known Member
thats it Paul o its a suck it and see for those of us on the being paid side. We have a small farm syndicate where it won't make a difference as that is paid on the day by the guns and then another which is 20 odd days which I guess will also be working out what to do. I get the idea its a huge red herring lots of noise by the revenue to try and get people to do it voluntarily and those who carry on as before will not hear anything about it. The last thing they want is to open the door for everyone to claim expenses
 

jimbo123p

Well-Known Member
As the shoot, determines the time you will work, will allocate the duties you do, will determine your when, start time and finish time, will supply the equipment, transport and such like you are classed as employee. To be self employed you have to be given the task and the timing is up to you. It was to do away with the labourers on building sites classing themselves as self employed.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
And, of course, free stalking or pigeon shooting may be held to be "benefit" in any case.

However, years ago I did a CPE in Law and one test for employment vs self-employment was that of "control". There were a number of legs to that but the main one was COULD THE PERSON SEND A SUBSTITUTE OF THEIR CHOOSING.

That is did it matter if, on the day it was John that turned up to do the task but Joanne. So if you are a factory owner and you employ as an employee an "in house" electrician then obviously you'll expect him and him alone to turn up each day at 8.00am and carry out any electrical repairs instructed. He has a Contract of Employment.

However if you are a factory owner and use a self-employed electrician to turn up each day at 8.00am and carry out electrical repairs IT IS UP TO THAT PERSON WHETHER THEY THEMSELVES ARRIVE OR THEY SEND A EQUIVALENTLY SKILLED AND CERTIFIED ELECTRICIAN IN LIEU AS A SUBSTITUTE TO DO THOSE SAME REPAIRS. He has a Contract for Services to provide, on that day, the services of a skilled certified electrician to carry out electrical repairs as required by the factory. It mattering not who that actual person is as long as they are suitably skilled or certified.

Another test was "exclusivity". That is is John prohibited without your permission from gong to beat for another, rival, maybe even directly commercially competing enterprise (or game shoot). Or if John having promised to turn up does not turn up if he is able to be subject to some sanction or penalty for that non appearance. Or as I began can he just ask Joanne or "his mate" or "his brother" to turn up IN LIEU.

Now since I did this twenty years plus ago the law may have changed but I do believe that on the test of "control" and of "substution" that a beater turning up on a casual day basis is not, per se, subject to any Contract of Employment but instead is working on the basis of a Contract for Services.
 
Last edited:

Virbius

Well-Known Member
The only exemption to the minimum wage issue as I see it is dependent on whether beaters can be classed as self-employed.

enfieldspares, that to me is a lucid and acceptable argument and I certainly am of the opinion that a beater is self-employed. What would make everyone's life simpler that runs a commercial shoot, is if that argument could be agreed upon and ratified by HMRC?
 
Last edited:

paul o'

Well-Known Member
you are prob correct al4x1 i'll keep every scrap of paper from the first shoot pre meeting to the last day and the shyt hawks can work out my loss's for me as there is no proffet in beating how ever you look at it, its the crack that is the pay day out with good chaps and such like.
 
Last edited:

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
As the shoot, determines the time you will work, will allocate the duties you do, will determine your when, start time and finish time, will supply the equipment, transport and such like you are classed as employee.

No, disagree. Many examples. A specialised computer programmer coming to set-up a computer on an oil rig would be expected to arrive at a certain time, at a certain place, to be taken by the oil rig helicopter to the site and to finish at a certain time each day.

Similar a barrister is not "employed" by you but has to turn up at the Court at a certain time (and woe betide if they don't and keep the Judge waiting) and will present the materiel SUPPLIED BY YOU to the Court acting as an advocate and finish when the Court adjourns for the day.

Same with a electrician you'll instruct them when they can access your house and what repairs they are to carry out and what faulty electrical items that they are to leave un-repaired. And when they are to leave by that day.

Is a vetinary surgeon who might be subject to ALL the same timings, transport supply, allocation of duties and even use of the farm's tools (such as castrators) then your employee? I think not!

I see no difference between asking a vet to turn up at 7.00am to go to "top barn", in your landrover, and using your castrators to castrate all the piglets there and then to go to another location to de-beak your pheasant poults using your equipment to that of a beater...except the size of the bill that arrives afterwards for the "services provided"!

This is more to do, as others say, with "professional beaters" that is those who are claiming unemployment benefits and ostensibly "available for and seeking work" whilst actually beating three or four days a week on the same estae and not submitting self-employed tax returns for that to HMRC.

And, as self-employed, they could actually DEDUCT the cost of getting themselves to the shoot venue and the cost of maintaining a dog for picking-up from those payments made for that day's beating.
 
Last edited:

jimbo123p

Well-Known Member
You are talking about contractors that will be registered as such. I was one. The wage will be taken from an invoice not a daily rate. The inland revenue are not interested in who pays the wages but who is responsible for the tax.
 

Labrat

Well-Known Member
HMRC have been pretty explicit that they view beaters as casual employees rather than self employed, the critical factor in their eyes being a 'master/servant' relationship - beaters are employed under the supervision/direction of a keeper, who tells them where to go, what to do, when to go and when to stop - they do not have real freedom in how and when they do the job.

I think that unless you were beating regularly for several different estates, it would be hard to claim that you were self employed (might be easier for pickers up, as the use of dogs could be argued to be a service, and they often cover a couple of different shoots)

Worth considering that free stalking and pest control could legitimately be claimed as self employment, as you're providing a service in return for a consideration (even where that consideration is the ability to keep the carcasses and sell them) so you can make a nice self assessment taxable losses offset claim against your main job on that basis.
 

Virbius

Well-Known Member
The self-employed option is the most straightforward and easiest to manage and administer. We would obviously pay gross, keep a record of the individuals details and it would be up to the individual to declare the income relevant to their personal circumstances.
As the discussion shows above, there is differing opinion as to employee or self-employed which is the crux of the issue.
 

wivenhoe65

Well-Known Member
HMRC have been pretty explicit that they view beaters as casual employees rather than self employed, the critical factor in their eyes being a 'master/servant' relationship - beaters are employed under the supervision/direction of a keeper, who tells them where to go, what to do, when to go and when to stop -:rofl: Ah ,that would be the keeper who thinks he is in charge ,you have not witnessed the anarchy on some of the shoots i have beaten on ........ (family / non commercial shoots in the most to be fair )
they do not have real freedom in how and when they do the job.

I think that unless you were beating regularly for several different estates, it would be hard to claim that you were self employed (might be easier for pickers up, as the use of dogs could be argued to be a service, and they often cover a couple of different shoots)

Worth considering that free stalking and pest control could legitimately be claimed as self employment, as you're providing a service in return for a consideration (even where that consideration is the ability to keep the carcasses and sell them) so you can make a nice self assessment taxable losses offset claim against your main job on that basis.

lol :D
 
Last edited:
BRACES of Bristol - Mauser M12 with Schmidt & Bender 2.5-10x56 Illuminated Scope
Top