The cost of (not having) contractor insurance

Insurance

Contractor insurance can seem like a right headache to sort out. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly a glamorous expense. But you need to have it to satisfy agencies and clients, so you figure you’ll just go for the cheapest premium you can find and that’ll be that.

After all, you’ll never need to use it, will you?

Well… While we would hope your business runs completely smoothly and you never need to use it, experience tells us that some people do have to make claims. Unfortunately, if you’ve opted for a cheaper policy, this can be where you discover to your detriment that you get what you pay for.

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Do IR35 changes apply to me?

IR35

IR35 reforms are set to hit the private sector in April 2020 and a lot of contractors are still none-the-wiser as to whether or not it will directly affect them. It can be hard to gauge because to know if it will affect you, you need to know if it will affect the businesses you work for.

We’ve pulled together a quick guide to help you understand if IR35 reforms will affect you or not. However, this is by no means exhaustive and we recommend chatting with your clients as well.

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Why you might want to return to self-employment

Self Employed

So, you were self-employed for a while, but then got lured back to the bright lights of regular employment.

Perhaps it was for a great career opportunity, perhaps it was for the guaranteed monthly salary, perhaps it was because you wanted to take advantage of a maternity or shared parental leave package, perhaps you were just sick and tired of doing your own admin.

Whatever the reason, you went back and spent some time as an employee and you’ve been enjoying it. Let’s face it, it’s quite nice not having to do your own taxes every year.

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Are you being treated lawfully as a contractor? A tale of Network Rail, Employer’s NI & IR35

Network Rail IR35

Another month, another IR35 story but this one isn’t about the rollout to the private sector, but rather public sector organisations allegedly making unlawful deductions from contractors’ fees.

In this case, the public sector body in question is Network Rail, as reported recently by ContractorCalculator. The accusations pertain to two separate contractors who were negotiating contracts with Network Rail in April 2018 and September 2018 respectively.

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Kingsbridge hits 50,000 customers

50,000 customers

Life is full of milestones. First steps. First words. First day of school. All of them triumphs and successes. But what does success look like for a company? Your first customer? Your first million? A new office? Again, all significant achievements. But there’s something particularly satisfying about hitting a nice, large number. Almost 12 years ago to the day our first customer came through the proverbial Kingsbridge doors. In a slightly uncanny piece of synchronicity, a few weeks back those same doors opened for our 50,000th customer.

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IR35 in the Private Sector – what end-hirers should be doing

IR35

A guest blog by Matt Fryer – Compliance Director, Brookson Legal Services

The “Off-payroll working rules from April 2020” consultation document issued by HMRC on 5th March 2019 (“Consultation Document”) reaffirmed that the Off-Payroll Rules, in force in the public sector, will be extended to the private sector from 6 April 2020.

Currently, in the private sector, contractors are responsible for assessing their own employment status. The effect of the April 2020 changes is that the medium and large sized businesses who use contractors (“end-hirers”) will need to identify impacted roles and assess the employment status of those roles to determine whether they are Inside or Outside IR35 – this determination will directly affect the take home pay of the off-payroll workers performing those roles. It should be noted that existing roles which will run beyond 6 April 2020 will need to be assessed prior to 6 April 2020 in addition to all new roles commencing from 6 April 2020.

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I’m a Celebrity…and I’ve been caught by IR35: What lessons can we learn?

IR35

Lorraine Kelly. Christa Ackroyd. Eamonn Holmes. Robert Glenister. Kaye Adams. No, it’s not the latest Strictly line-up. The above TV stars are just the visible few of the potentially large number of well-known names who are likely to have been caught-up in HMRC’s ongoing IR35 crackdown.

As anyone with half on eye on the news will know, some have fared better than others. Lorraine Kelly, or rather ‘Lorraine Kelly’, avoided a substantial fine by claiming that her happy-go-lucky TV persona was just that – a brand, and not a reflection of the real person. Kay Adams was judged to be sufficiently detached from the BBC to be outside IR35. Ackroyd was not. Glenister lost due to a combination of a lack of understanding and flimsy, poorly prepared legal arguments. Holmes’ case is still going through the courts, with £2m of tax at stake.

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Substitution Clauses: What, Why and How

Substitution Clause

One subject that has come up repeatedly in our recent blogs, especially those focusing on IR35 regulations, is the idea of a “substitution clause”. But what exactly is a substitution clause, and why do people keep urging you to have one?

Most contractors and freelancers operate as individuals, taking on projects themselves and seeing them through to completion. However, a substitution clause is a section within your contract that tells your clients of your right to provide an alternate person or persons to carry out the work that you have been contracted to do.

It can be useful if:

  • you’re ill
  • you have a family emergency or other issue
  • you’re on holiday or abroad for another job but you have clients that need looking after
  • you want to temporarily step back from work for some reason

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Grids, Likes, Followers and Connections: Which social media platform suits your contractor style?

Social Media

Despite the hype around social media, there are lots of reasons that contractors might be tempted to avoid it altogether for business use. It takes investment in terms of time and, increasingly, money, as platforms tighten their algorithms to restrict the reach of business posts. It’s easy to get wrong, and it’s hard to do it really well when you don’t have a dedicated social media team in-house. But equally, not using social media could be a wasted opportunity for contractors. Our advice? Use it, but use it smartly. Don’t spread yourself too thin, and target one or two key platforms that best fit the needs of your business and get you in front of the right audience. In this guide we take a look at four of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. We’ll look at which platforms are most suitable for which types of content, and the types of client they will allow you to connect with, to help you kickstart your social media strategy.

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Local business groups: getting involved

Business Group

Contracting and freelancing can be a lonely game. It can feel like you’re in a bit of a bubble, isolated from the “real world”, and unable to build up collegial relationships. One valuable way to build up your profile, networks and client base is to get involved with a local business group. The broad benefit of joining a group like this is that ever-present business buzzword: “networking”. There are a wide variety of different relationships you might build and opportunities that you might discover. This blog looks at some of the key benefits to becoming part of a business network as a contractor or freelancer.

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