At your service

I work in a bar, earning £150 a week basic but as much again in tips.  Do I need to tell the taxman about the tips?  MC

I’m afraid so.  If you’re an employee your employers should make an adjustment to your tax code to take into account the extra you make from tips.

If you’re self-employed the Inland Revenue will expect you to declare a certain amount from this type of income in your line of work.  From the taxman’s point of view tips and wages are both regarded as taxable income.

However on the bright side, from 1st October this year, tips, service charges, gratuities and cover charges can no longer be used to make up national minimum wage pay.  This means that eligible workers will receive at least the National Minimum Wage in base pay with any tips being paid on top. 

A voluntary code of practice has also been introduced so that customers know where their money is going when deciding whether or not to leave a tip.

Claim fizzled out

I had surgery 10 years ago which went wrong.  Although I was outside the time limit to claim compensation my case was taken up by a firm of solicitors. 

Now I’m told that, although the hospital was clearly negligent, it’s not possible to trace the surgeon involved and it would be risky taking my case to court.  RW

The absence of the surgeon should not necessarily have brought your claim to a standstill.  The limitation period doesn’t start from the date of your operation, but from the date you realised something was wrong, so you’re not necessarily out of time to bring a claim. 

With the advent of the ‘no win, no fee’ system some solicitors are less willing to pursue cases where the outcome is uncertain.  But if there was a clear case of negligence you should perhaps discuss taking your case elsewhere.  Don’t delay though.