Budget 2018: Kingsbridge Reaction

Budget 2018

Another year, another Budget. In recent times, contractors and the self-employed have become used to watching the Chancellor’s pronouncements from behind the sofa. It would be an understatement to say that the last few announcements weren’t particularly kind to the contracting community, so it was understandable if many approached this October’s Budget with trepidation.

Amid much rumour and speculation, there was uncertainty as to how the self-employed would fare this time around. Although many in the community were hoping that proposed private sector IR35 reform would be abandoned, in truth it was never likely to be an option.

Despite a plethora of evidence to the contrary, in recent months the government has gone to some lengths to praise the success of IR35 reform in the public sector. The real question was a simpler one: would similar reforms apply to the private sector from April 2019 or April 2020?

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Budget 2018: Contractor Preview

Budget 2018

Fright Night for Contractors and Freelancers?

It’s that time of the year again. No, not Halloween. The Budget. But that’s not to say that there won’t be a few scares in the Chancellor’s big red box come 29th October. So what might leave contractors and freelancers waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night this time around?

Firstly, the fact this year’s Budget is a little earlier than normal (it normally takes place in mid-to-late November) has set a few alarms bells ringing.

It could be nothing, and it may well be an attempt to get ‘distractions’ out of the way before pressing on with the real business of Brexit, but there is speculation that an early Budget date has been put in place in order to give the government time to perfect the launch of the heavily rumoured private sector IR35 reforms.

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Missing something? Protect your pocket with our IR35 cover

IR35

We’re a bit like a nagging parent at Kingsbridge when it comes to IR35. Do your laces up. Eat your vegetables. Make sure you’ve got the right cover in place for you and your business.

But like a nagging parent, we only do it because we care. In recent years we’ve seen more and more drawn-out legal battles contesting IR35 decisions, and the outcomes are generally less than desirable. Whether it’s the fine itself, or simply the spectre of having to defend yourself against the government, finding yourself in an IR35 investigation can be stressful, costly, and time-consuming.

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IR35 Trouble? We’ve got the cover for you

IR35

Regular readers of this blog will know that we’ve covered IR35 fairly extensively in the recent past. Whether we’re talking about the ins and outs of what it actually is or highlighting examples of contractors who’ve fallen foul of the legislation, we like to think of it as a subject we know well.

But there’s only so much talking we can do. Sometimes action has to be taken. That’s why we’ve recently introduced our Legal Expenses Plus policy, our cover designed to help you should you find yourself in the midst of an IR35 investigation.

An IR35 investigation is not something any contractor wants on their plate. Regardless of whether you’re found to be inside IR35 or not, it’s time consuming, stressful, and a likely drain on finances given the amount of effort you’ll have to put into defending yourself.

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IR35 IRL – How much will getting caught cost you?

IR35

There was a time when IR35 was something of a bogeyman to contractors. Tall tales and horror stories. Lurking in the shadows. A looming spectre, but never quite tangible enough to make you feel its presence. Those days are over. Gone are the 1 in 60,000 odds of being caught.

In the last 18 months or so HMRC has ramped up its campaign to catch contractors working as disguised employees and therefore inside IR35. Need more proof? We’ve rounded up a few of the more prominent cases below.

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Everything a Contractor Needs to Know About IR35

IR35

IR35. Two letters. Two numbers. It might not seem like much, but it should be at the forefront of any contractor’s thoughts. Not understanding the implications of IR35 could be the difference between a trouble-free working existence and a huge, potentially business-ending, fine.

If you work in the public sector there’s a good chance you’ve already felt the sting of the recent reforms which have left independent workers at the likes of the NHS and BBC up in arms at their treatment.

Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that the same reforms will roll out to the private sector in the near future, after an upcoming consultation due to be released this year. Given how prevalent the legislation is likely to become, it’s important that contractors make sure they know as much as possible.

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Government announces consultation around private sector IR35 reform

Private Sector IR35

With a certain sense of inevitability, on 18th May the government announced their intention to carry out a consultation on tax avoidance in the private sector.

Any of those in the contracting community with even a passing interest in IR35 legislation will have known this was coming, the question having always been ‘when?’ rather than ‘if’. But what impact is it likely to have going forward?

When announcing the consultation period, the government were at pains to point out that “no decisions have been made” in terms of rolling out IR35 reform into the private sector and made it clear that they were actively seeking opinion on how the rules around the controversial legislation can be improved.

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2017 Autumn Budget: Reaction Round-Up

Budget Round-Up 2017

A couple of weeks on from the 2017 Autumn Budget, the dust has settled. It’s fair to say that the reaction, from a contracting perspective at least, was mixed. On the one hand, the government took a big step closer towards extending its much-maligned clampdown on IR35 into the private sector. On the other, there was a clear effort at a more conciliatory approach towards the flexible working market than many expected.  The immediate tax hikes and Draconian reform of previous years were replaced by a stream of consultations and discussion documents. An unsteady half step forward, then, rather than one giant leap back.

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2017 Spring Budget – What Should Contractors Expect?

Spring Budget 2017

2017 stands as something of an anomaly on the important political announcement front – the one and only time that there will be two Budgets in a single year. As noted by the Chancellor last November, the Autumn Statement has now ceased to be. Tomorrow’s spring Budget will be the last of its kind (for the foreseeable future at least), replaced by a yearly autumn Budget (commencing in autumn of this year), followed from 2018 onwards by a Spring Statement.

Confusing? Yes. A good idea? Definitely. By holding the Budget in the autumn it will allow for major tax changes to occur annually, well before the start of the fiscal year. The Spring Statement will then exist to respond to OBR forecasts, but will not be a major fiscal event in itself.

So what should contractors expect tomorrow? As always, it’s impossible to truly predict what will happen (take last year’s Autumn Statement as an unwelcome example) but there are a few key pointers to look out for. We don’t expect to see anything dramatic given that there will only be a 6 month gap between Budgets (not to mention the fact that the Government’s self-imposed 31st March deadline to begin the formal Brexit process is arriving at a startling pace) but there’s always room for a surprise or two. What do we already know, and what would we like to see? Read on below for our observations.

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IR35: What’s the Latest?

IR35 Latest

April’s IR35 changes have been looming large in the rear view mirror for some time now. With the self-assessment deadline having come and gone at the end of January, the focus of the contracting community has now fallen firmly upon Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget on 8th March, followed swiftly by the much-maligned changes in IR35 status for personal service company contractors in the public sector that are due to come into force from 6th April 2017. If labyrinthine policy change doesn’t fill you with vernal optimism, then we’re not sure what will.

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