Therein lies the answer. The contract is between his company and the client and then you have a contract between yourself and the company. Essentially you are acting as an agent (authorised or unauthorised) of the company and the money in your bank is being held on trust and belongs to the company.
I would be a bit reluctant to just hand it over on demand though that is what should happen. Have you thought that without going through the company you effectively have no builder’s licence and are probably not insured. Perhaps the best path would be to talk it out with the builder and come to an agreement that keeps everyone happy rather than finishing on the losing end of an argument.
To get paid yes you would need to invoice the company. You are a subcontractor so that would be the correct path. I will say dont take my word for it on a forum. Seek professional advice but i have found lots of problems can be avoided with a beer and a bit of give and take.
DCM is correct – the money does belong to the licensed builder’s company as he’ll be taxed on that – bot h for GST and income tax.
The best and easiest way to fix this is:
– come to an agreement with the licensed builder’s company as to how much money he’s to pay you for this job – make sure its an equitable agreement. I’d suggest that he gets to keep a portion of the total amount to cover insurances / licences etc and a portion with any work he performed.;
– write an invoice for the agreed amount;
– treat the money in your bank account as payment of the above invoice and forward any excess money to the licensed builder’s company’s bank account.
Due to the unusual money transaction, I’d suggest you have the agreement in writing and signed by both parties and both parties have a copy of it. (It doesn’t need to be written by a Solicitor.) This will suffice the record keeping requirements, and will help out any bookkeepers involved.