Tripartite agreements are a risky business, says Richard Butcher, managing director of PTL

Jenny leant forward. She reached out and toyed with the wax of the melting candle. Gently but firmly she caressed it into shape, its soft warmth succumbing to her slender fingers. “I have an idea” she whispered, barely audibly.

Jason looked up from the rich and full bodied red wine that swirled around his glass. He’d had a long day but his senses were alert and never more so than when he was with Jenny.

The lights were low and the room almost silent. This was an extremely discreet restaurant where couples could come and go and be certain of privacy.

“Tell me more” he replied, his deep baritone as smooth as richly roasted coffee.

“It’s quite dangerous” she breathed “I want you to promise me you’ll still love me even if I tell you what it is.”

Jason’s deep brown eyes locked with hers and held them. He paused for a moment, sipping the wine. He felt its warmth on the back of his tongue “This is all dangerous, we live with it every day, what’s one more bit of danger to us?”

This is all dangerous, we live with it every day, what’s one more bit of danger to us?”

It was her turn to pause. His eyes were so intense. Her long lashes fluttered, she blushed a little and looked away “I just want to be sure…”

He reached across the table and took her hand in his. Gently, he sketched small circles with his thumb in her palm “Tell me”.

She was still looking down, but now she raised her gaze. Their eyes locked again. She closed her fingers to encircle his hand “I think we should try a ‘ménage à trois.’”

Jason tried not to blink. He managed to hold her gaze but she felt the minute shock of momentary additional pressure on her hand.

“A ménage à trois” he repeated to buy himself a little time as he played through the idea “yes that is dangerous.”

 It’s worth doing – worth the risk”

They fell silent for a moment, she giving him room to think the idea through, he playing the moment. He wanted a ménage à trois more than anything but didn’t want to release her from tension too quickly.

“Okay” he replied, as the electricity of the moment reached a crescendo “how do we go about it?”

Jenny sat back, slowly releasing his hand. Her sense of release was tangible.

“It’s easy” she replied “but there are risks – particularly if the Revenue decide they don’t like tripartite agreements. It’s all a bit of a faff.

“Firstly we make sure that the trust deed and rules acknowledge that we, the employer, will pay the costs while you, the trustees, procure the services. Then we’ll have to sort the agreements out with the various service providers - they’ll need to issue us with invoices in future.

Lederhosen

Richard Butcher is an independent trustee and managing director of PTL

Thanks to Mike for consenting to my using his picture.

“If we do this and Her Majesties Revenue and Customs continue to play ball, we should be able to recover some of the VAT on the pension service costs. It’s worth doing – worth the risk.”

Jason nodded “I agree there’s no point paying more VAT than we really need to. By the way, thanks for agreeing to come to this restaurant.

“I know it’s a bit dark but I really didn’t fancy going for a curry wearing lederhosen.

“I can’t believe I didn’t have any other spare trousers in the office”.

“No problem darling. Anyway, we should be getting back now, the babysitter will be getting anxious.”