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Avoiding rail havoc: remote working

Remote Working

Whether you choose to drive or use public transport, one thing you can’t ignore is the havoc caused by engineering works and industrial action on the railways. If you normally use the train to get from A to B, then you really will be bearing the brunt of this as you join the incredibly slow rail replacement bus service, or you switch to an alternative mode of transport.

Rail problems have a habit of affecting contractors and freelancers (and everyone else, for that matter) even if you don’t normally catch the train, so what are the solutions? Well, the easiest way to tackle the problem is remote working. It’s not possible for everyone, of course, but if it’s a viable solution for you, then it’s worth considering.

So what are your options?

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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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Contractor Insurance Checklist: Does your policy include Employers’ Liability cover?

Employers' Liability Cover

At Kingsbridge, all of our contractor insurance policies include Employers’ Liability cover as standard, but this is not the case across the contractor insurance industry. Many insurers miss it off completely or make it an optional extra, causing many contractors to assume they don’t need it.

And we can see why you may think that. After all, you may well fit into the exemption category (you employ only yourself and own at least 50% of your share capital) as do many contractors. But this is not always the case and just because you are exempt now it doesn’t mean you will be a few months or years down the line.

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Movember at Kingsbridge

Kingsbridge Movember

There’s an old English proverb that says “A man without a moustache is like a cup of tea without sugar.” We don’t know how you take your tea, but it’s safe to presume that whoever came up with that line preferred their men with a little upper lip plumage.

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Kingsbridge SME Insurance

Kingsbridge SME Insurance

Did you know that, by the start of 2014, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills estimated that 99.3% of UK private sector businesses were small and medium-sized enterprises (better known as SMEs)? Their combined £1.6 trillion annual turnover accounted for 47% of private sector turnover.

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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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