More and more people working in what one might term ‘traditional’ employment are moving into the freelance and contracting sectors. As Julie Deane’s recent Self-Employment Review made clear, the number of people currently self-employed in the UK has reached unprecedented levels, not only making a crucial economic impact but also ensuring that the sustained growth of recent years continues on an upward trajectory. It’s true, in many ways, that there’s never been a better time to make the switch and plough your own furrow – leave the office, leave your routines, perhaps even leave your comfort zone. Contractors are well and truly making their own mark on the economic landscape. Read on below to see just a few of the reasons why you should consider following the self-employment path.
The beginning of the year can be a stressful time for everyone, with new resolutions to keep to, the return to work after Christmas excess, and the cold days of winter. For contractors, there’s also the added burden of the self-assessment deadline looming large at the end of January (the 31st to be exact). We can’t ever promise to make doing your tax returns any more fun (although we find a glass or two of wine tends to help), but we can give you some tips to help the process go more smoothly for this year and the years beyond. We know your time is at a premium so we’ll get on with our guide without any further fuss:
Make sure you submit your tax return on time
It might sound like a given, but you’d be surprised at the number of horror stories we’ve heard about contractors leaving things too late and not making the deadline (which, to remind you again, is 11:59pm on 31st January). If your tax return arrives after this point you’ll pick up a £100 fine. So check those internet connections, make sure you know where all your paperwork is, and give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
Last week we took our first look at two of the reasons why you should renew your contractor insurance policy. This week we’re back with another three. You might not be sure that you want to renew, or you might be unaware of the benefits that come with renewing your policy, or you might not be sure if you should continue insuring with Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance. Let us explain.
When the time comes to renew your policy, we understand that you’ll often have questions. Sometimes our customers aren’t sure why they should renew, and aren’t aware of the many benefits of doing so. Over the next few posts we’ll share some of the key reasons for renewing your contractor insurance policy.
A little while ago we wrote about Professional Indemnity insurance – what it is, why you need it, and what a claim against you might look like. Today we’re presenting the second installment of the series and discussing Public Liability Insurance.
What is it?
This one is simple to explain, and a necessary part of any insurance package. Public liability insurance will cover you and your business for any inconvenience you may cause a customer or client. If damage is caused or goods are lost while work is being carried out then you’ll be covered.
One of the most common questions we get asked at Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance is ‘Why do I need insurance?’ Let us explain.
No matter your industry, if you work as an independent contractor you’re providing your client with your services or your professional advice. If, during the course of your work, you make a mistake or an error that has an effect on your client or their business then they are well within their rights to make a claim against you. Because of this you’ll need to have the relevant insurances. Having the right insurance in place when a costly claim is made can be the difference between keeping you in business and having to shut your business down, something that could have a negative impact if you want to work as a contractor again in the future.
We’re taking another look at IR35 on the Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance blog today. This week – should you get your contract reviewed for IR35 compliance?
IR35 is the legislation on everyone’s lips and it’s a subject that we have covered a number of times. Since its passing into law in 2000, it’s been a priority for freelancers and contractors to make sure they don’t get caught in the IR35 net.
Some professional organisations now offer independent reviews of your contracts that check for IR35 compliance, giving you the peace of mind from the outset that you are not at risk of being caught out. This week, we’re going to investigate if these contract reviews are really worth it for independent professionals today.
We’re taking another dip into the Kingsbridge archives this week as we continue to highlight some of our previous posts you may have missed. Today, we’re taking another look at tax and what the modern contractor needs to consider.
You’ve established yourself as a contractor; you’ve networked, you’re looked for jobs, and you’ve completed your first contract with a new client. Now it’s time for the best bit – receiving your first cheque.
Don’t get too attached to that number, though. You need to make sure you factor in the tax you owe, now that your tax isn’t being collected on a pay-as-you-earn basis. When you’re starting out as a contractor, it’s really important that you get your head around the realities of your tax situation in order to ensure that you don’t incur the penalties associated with paying the wrong amount of tax.
Read on to find out the kind of things that are worth considering when it comes to tax and the modern contractor.
At Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, sometimes we like to revisit blog posts we’ve done in the past. It might be that you didn’t see the post first time around, or that you’ve only recently taken out an insurance policy with us. For this post we’re going back to October 2014, to take another look at our Contractor’s Guide to IR35 Legislation.
The Intermediaries Legislation, or IR35 as it is more commonly known, has been a topic of conversation for many in the world of contracting. With HMRC this year promising to reduce IR35 case investigation time, this key piece of legislation is now a topic that no contractor can afford to ignore.
Our comprehensive insurance policy package includes professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance, personal accident cover, directors’ and officers’ liability, and employers’ liability. But covering you as you go about your work is only part of what we do. There are numerous other benefits to holding the correct insurance:
It’s a key IR35 indicator:
There’s enough to discuss about IR35 to make another blog post entirely (in fact, we’ve done just that). But, to put it simply, it’s a piece of government legislation aimed at uncovering ‘disguised employment’. What’s that? In essence, ‘disguised employment’ is when a freelancer works on a contract through their limited company, but their working conditions and contract indicate that they are working in the same way as a traditional employee.
If you get caught up in this legislation then your income will be subject to normal income tax and National Insurance contributions, meaning that you’ll lose the advantage of the low salary, high dividends tax arrangement that many contractors benefit from.
If HMRC decide to investigate the validity of your contract against the stipulations of IR35 legislation then they’ll carry out a series of Business Entity Tests. These tests function as one of the ways to prove that your contract is at low, medium, or high risk of being caught out by IR35.
Being covered by professional indemnity insurance (one of the elements of the Kingsbridge policy package) can improve your IR35 stance significantly, and forms a significant part of the Business Entity Test.
Ensuring you are fully covered as a freelance contractor is a vital step towards covering yourself at every level. At Kingsbridge we have designed our core insurance package to cover the risks you’re exposed to as a freelance contractor. This includes Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employers’ Liability cover, all at levels that suit the needs of the modern freelancer.