Don’t forget the online self-assessment tax return deadline!

Self-Assessment Deadline

The deadline for your online self-assessment tax return is coming up fast – 31 January 2017 to be exact. If you have an accountant who handles this on your behalf, it’s likely to already be neatly in hand. But if, like a lot of contractors, you handle your tax return yourself, make sure you have it submitted on time.

What happens if I miss the deadline?

If you miss the 31 January 2017 deadline, you will ultimately have to pay more. This is the same if you submit your paper tax return before 31 January 2017, but after 31 October 2016 (the deadline for paper tax returns). If you have missed the paper deadline, make sure you complete an online tax return before 31 January to avoid a fine.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Contractors

New Year's Resolutions

Setting New Year’s resolutions can be a pain as we all feel like we’re competing with each other on Twitter as we resolve to get fit, cut out fast food, be more mindful and whatever else everyone is resolving to do in 2017. And, let’s face it, most of us ditch the resolutions by mid-January anyway.

Business resolutions, however, are something else entirely. Think of them as easy-to-achieve goals that will help make your life easier in 2017 and hopefully improve your business as well. But what can contractors set as their New Year’s resolutions? We have some ideas…

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Christmas as a contractor

Christmas as  Contractor

 

Unless you’ve specifically planned to take Christmas off, the festive period can leave some contractors feeling at a bit of a loose end. While to many it’s a happy time to spend with family and friends, to some it can be a time of financial worry where work just isn’t forthcoming because everyone else is off.

We’ve got some tips to help you get through the festive period with your sanity in tact!

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Contractor Insurance Checklist: Do you have the right limits?

Insurance Limits

One horror story we regularly hear from contractors is that they did have insurance but were, in fact, underinsured.

While this wasn’t an issue for them for a long time — and kept their monthly or yearly premiums down — it became a problem when a claim was made against them because of a mistake they made, and they didn’t have enough insurance to cover it. This resulted in them having to foot most of the bill themselves with a variety of consequences including using up their savings, selling their home, having to give up their business or, in some extreme cases, declaring bankruptcy.

So you should always make sure you have the right level of insurance with appropriate limits, lest you find yourself in a situation that results in financial difficulties.

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Contractor Insurance Checklist: Are you meeting your contractual obligations?

Contractual Obligations

Whether you’re a veteran contractor or a newbie, whether you’re in IT or engineering, you’ve almost certainly discovered by now that having contractor insurance is often a contractual obligation when it comes to clients and/or agencies. This means that before you sign on the dotted line, you must have insurance in place or else you could find yourself in breach of contract.

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Autumn Statement 2016: The Kingsbridge Reaction

Autumn Statement 2016 Kingsbridge

Despite all the political, social, and economic doom and gloom that wrapped around 2016 like a suffocating vine, Britain’s self-employed continued to rage against the dying of the light. Damian Hinds, the current Employment Minister, recently hailed “the resilience of the UK labour market”, citing the fact that Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8% – its lowest level in over a decade. Coupled with that, the Office of National Statistics’ employment report for July – September 2016 revealed that the number of self-employed rose to 4.79 million, an increase of 213,000 for the year. That figure now equates to over 15% of the total UK workforce.

Why mention the above? Because instead of the recognition and support they deserve, contractors, freelancers and the self-employed found themselves under sustained attack in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

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Public liability and professional indemnity insurance: what’s the difference?

PI vs. PL

At Kingsbridge, we regularly get asked what the difference is between public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance. A lot of people think they’re the same thing and wonder why both are included in our combined contractor insurance policy. The fact is, they’re different things and, as a contractor, you will more than likely need both. We’ve written this article to clearly lay out what the differences are.

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How to look after your financial records as a contractor

Financial Records

Whether you set yourself up as a Limited Company or as a Sole Trader, looking after your financial records is vital to ensure you pay appropriate Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, Corporation Tax, Student Loan Repayments or anything else that may be applicable to your situation. We’ve taken a look at what constitutes best practice so that you can make sure you pay the right amount and don’t face any repercussions for underpayment.

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Who is fuelling the UK’s contractor growth?

Contractor Growth

The UK contractor industry overall has seen a sustained period of growth over the last few years, with the number of contractors reaching never seen before levels, and making a huge economic impact. The reasons for this are well documented already, with key factors being people creating their own jobs after the economic crash, as well as people becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of a strong work-life balance.

But exactly who are the people and industries fueling this growth?

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How to get the best out of LinkedIn as a contractor

LinkedIn for Contractors

LinkedIn can be invaluable for contractors, particularly in terms of advertising your skills and services and being visible to hiring managers and recruiters in your sector. However, there’s more to LinkedIn than just uploading your CV, leaving it there and hoping somebody spots it. We’ve pulled together some top tips for making sure your profile is at the top of searches.

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