IR35 reforms for private sector – consultation released

IR35

Businesses to be responsible for sorting out status disputes, notes Larsen Howie‘s new Head of Tax Andy Vessey

A little quicker off the mark than many had anticipated, HMRC have published the consultation document ‘Off-payroll working rules from April 2020‘ which will run for 85 days, closing on 28th May 2019.

Ostensibly, the off-payroll rules will mirror those currently in place for the public sector but with some tweaks. This is because the government acknowledges that the needs of private sector organisations are different to those in the public sector, and that the range of activities carried out are much more diverse.

The extension of the existing rules to cover independent contractor usage is due to begin on 6th April 2020, with the consultation making it clear that the public sector rules will serve as the starting point when the private sector rollout begins. This consultation period is intended to gather comments from stakeholders on the proposals put forward by HMRC. Here’s what you need to know.

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Self-employed make up almost 15% of UK workforce, new data shows

Self Employed

With talk of Brexit and IR35 reform dominating contracting and freelancing circles for some time now, the continued growth and success of the self-employed community is sometimes left behind.

But despite a backdrop of economic uncertainty and the unsettling influence of looming legislative reform that community has continued to thrive. Recently released data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of self-employed people in the UK rose by an impressive 63,000 to 4.84 million in the last quarter of 2018.

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EU settled status for contractors and freelancers

Settled Status

Amidst a still unclear Brexit picture, recently there was a piece of good news for EU citizens living in the UK. Theresa May announced that the Government would be abolishing the £65 fee for individuals to apply for settled status in the UK after Brexit. This is particularly welcome news for contractors and freelancers, as many employers were offering to cover the cost for their workers, whereas the self-employed would have to find the money from their own pockets. This blog takes a closer look at the process of applying for settled status if you are a contractor or freelancer. As we’ve seen from the past month or two, almost everything about Brexit is still up for negotiation and subject to change, but here is the advice as it currently stands.

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Brexit: What could it mean for contractors and freelancers?

Brexit

As the Brexit debate rumbles on in Parliament and the UK seems no closer to clarity on what Brexit will look like, many contractors and freelancers will be wondering about the impact that it will have on their businesses. Of course, it all depends on what kind of Brexit we end up with and the specifics of your industry. In this blog, we take a closer look at what the likely impacts of Brexit might be for contractors and freelancers and whether there are any sectors that might see benefits when the UK exits the EU.

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10 things you might not know about self-assessment

Self-Assessment

It’s that time of year again! As every contractor and freelancer knows, January is the time to get those accounts straight, file your return and pay any outstanding tax. While we’re all familiar with the nuts and bolts of the self-assessment process, we thought we’d take a closer look at the bigger picture. So here are 10 things that you might not know about self-assessment. Hopefully you’re in the 52% of people who have already filed their self-assessment with HMRC – if so you can sit back and read the rest of this blog in a self-satisfied state of calm.

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Rail trouble – tips for commuting contractors

Rail Trouble

Price hikes and poor service have seen the UK’s troubled rail transport system hitting the headlines again over the last month or two. But until we master the power of teleportation, commuting by train is a necessary evil for many contractors and freelancers who need to visit sites or meet with clients. This blog offers some tips to make commuting less expensive and more productive.

Split tickets are quite possibly our favourite “life hack” ever. A quirk of the ticketing system in the UK means that splitting your journey in half and buying two separate tickets can work out far, far cheaper than buying one ticket for the whole journey. For example, if you need to travel from Birmingham to Reading and back, splitting your ticket at Banbury can save you nearly £60. There are helpful online tools such as Trainsplit to help you find the best ticket combos for your journey. You don’t have to get off at the intermediate station, though the train you travel on does have to stop there.

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New Years’ Resolutions You Might Actually Keep

New Years Resolutions

Another year, and here we are ready to be oh-so-well-intentioned and make those obligatory New Year’s Resolutions. I’m giving up sugar! I’m going vegan! I’m going to read a book a week for the whole year! Inevitably, by the third week of January we’re sat back in the pub, tucking into a mixed grill and a sticky toffee pudding, only up to page 53 of Great Expectations.

That said, a new year can be a useful waymarker on your self-employed journey. It can be a time to take stock, reflect on past achievements and look at the ways forward for your business. The key to New Year’s Resolutions that stick is to make them achievable, impactful and beneficial. Here are some ideas for resolutions for contractors and freelancers that might make 2019 less stressful and more profitable.

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Jobs to get on with over Christmas

Christmas

Christmas as a contractor or freelancer can be a time of mixed emotions. Yes, it’s a relief to have some downtime and spend a few days with loved ones. But as clients go quiet on us, paid jobs dry up until January and offices and sites across the UK close for the Christmas period, it can also provoke anxiety. Perhaps you’ve been canny this year and scheduled in some ongoing work to tide you over the quiet spell. Or perhaps you are planning on switching off the computer, sending the phone to voicemail and taking some well-deserved time off to scoff mince pies and wear novelty jumpers. But if not, how can contractors and freelancers make the Christmas period a productive one? Here we take a look at some jobs you can do to make best use of this time.

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The Contractor’s Christmas List

Christmas List

Dear Father Christmas,

We contractors and freelancers have been very good this year. We’ve finished all our jobs to the highest standard, completed our tax returns on time and still managed to see the kids and keep on top of the housework.

So, this year, all we really want for Christmas is…

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Why getting insurance is a bit like getting your flu jab

Contractor Insurance Flu Jab

Why getting insurance is a bit like getting your flu jab

Flu season is upon us, and once again the NHS is hard at work convincing us to get our flu jab. The flu jab is offered for free to over 65s, people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women and children aged 2-10, and people outside these groups can pay to have the jab privately to get protected. As newspaper after newspaper publishes articles urging us to get vaccinated, we started to think about how getting your flu jab is a bit like organising insurance for your business: in your head, it seems like a big, scary, unnecessary expense and a pain to organise, but in reality, it is over quickly, easy to arrange, cheaper than you imagine and protects you from a far worse alternative.

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