COVID-19 pandemic: Support for contractors

Covid-Pandemic Image

It has been an unprecedented few weeks for everyone, not least for the self-employed community as the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread across the globe, leading to lockdown in country after country, the UK most recently. As well as the obvious worries about our health and that of our loved ones, it has also led to worries about how incomes will be maintained when the world has effectively ground to a halt for an indefinite period.

The Government has announced a variety of measures designed to help both self-employed and employed people protect their incomes, so what measures are available?

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What contractors should do with the IR35 reprieve

IR35 delay

To say it’s been an eventful few weeks would be an understatement and we know that our customers have a lot of things on their mind right now and that IR35 is probably the least of them. We understand that many contractors are happy that it’s been delayed until next April although frustrated at the distress it’s caused to date. Beyond that you’re more concerned with keeping yourself and your family healthy through the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring your business weathers this storm.

That being said, your IR35 status is something to keep eye on and make sure that, as a contractor, you take care of your responsibilities now and prepare for the changes now due in April 2021.

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Working from home during the COVID-19 crisis

working from home

We’ve written a fair few articles on working from home over the years. After all, it’s often one of the major changes faced by employees becoming contractors. But this one’s somewhat different as now everyone who is able to is working from home and the challenges faced by contractors and freelancers working from home are a bit different too.

Contractors are now finding themselves working from home while their partners also work from home and, with schools closed, with their children at home too. So, while we usually offer tips on dealing with the isolation that working from home can bring, this one is about dealing with the pressures of working around people who aren’t normally at home with you, while you try to get to grips with the UK’s current way of life.

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Kingsbridge Group agrees to be acquired by NSM Insurance Inc.

Kingsbridge group acquisition

Deal subject to regulatory approval

The Kingsbridge Group Ltd (“Kingsbridge”), the UK’s leading provider of specialist insurance services to contractors, freelancers and the recruitment industry, is delighted to announce that it has agreed to be acquired by NSM Insurance Group (“NSM”) for an undisclosed sum, subject to regulatory approval in the UK and Guernsey.  NSM, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, is an industry leader in the development, implementation, marketing and underwriting of profitable, industry-specific insurance programs.

The deal marks an exit for UK private equity firm Dunedin which has backed the business since 2016.  Under Dunedin’s ownership, the business has made a number of acquisitions and has enjoyed significant growth, more than doubling its client base and revenues.

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Government announce IR35 reforms delayed until April 2021

Houses of parliament
In an unexpected move yesterday evening, the Government called a temporary halt to the introduction of IR35 reforms. Originally due to come into effect on 6th April, they have now been delayed by a year until April 2021 as the fallout from the spread of Covid-19 continues to become clear.

“This is a deferral in response to the ongoing spread of Covid-19 to help businesses and individuals,” declared Steve Barclay MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the House of Commons yesterday.

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Spring Budget 2020 and IR35

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With the IR35 reforms right around the corner now, we imagine you were watching the Rishi Sunak’s first Budget as Chancellor with as keen an interest as we were. However, any business or recruiters hoping for the announcement of a delay to the off-payroll working reforms would have been sorely disappointed: IR35 didn’t even warrant a mention in Mr Sunak’s speech, and was given just a short paragraph in the documentation.

This is, however, hardly surprising. The results of the Government’s review of the reforms was published recently, bringing in a small number of policy changes to the draft legislation, including:

  • Confirmation of a legal obligation to be placed on all end clients to confirm their size, creating clarity on whether or not off-payroll rules apply for the contractor or agency.
  • The new rules will not apply if the client is wholly overseas, with no subsidiary or presence in the UK.
  • Confirmation that the new rules will now only apply to payments made for services which were provided on or after 6th April 2020. Payments for services provided before this date will not be affected.

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Spring Budget 2020: what it means for contractors

Spring Budget Image Final

Contractors, recruiters, accountants, end clients and everyone else in the sector have been waiting with eager interest for the Spring Budget 2020 for a number of reasons. It’s the first Budget of the current Government, it’s the first post-Brexit Budget, it’s the first Budget for new Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and the last Budget before the ushering in of the IR35 private sector reforms on 6th April.

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How recruiters can implement IR35 Protect into their business

 

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Kingsbridge have been hosting a series of online and offline events; the latest being an Industry Insight panel discussion held in Manchester, designed to help Recruitment businesses prepare for the change in the off-payroll rules.

For anyone unable to make these events, Kingsbridge hold Industry Insight webinars. In the latest, Kingsbridge’s MD, Thomas Wynne, and Legal Manager, Nicola Hayman, outlined how recruiters can protect themselves – and everyone else in the contractor supply chain – using our IR35 Protect and Recruiter Protect Products when the IR35 reforms take effect on 6th April. In this blog, we’ll outline what was discussed so, if you missed it, you can get up to speed.

VIEW WEBINAR HERE 

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Getting ready for IR35 webinar

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On 20th February 2020 Kingsbridge ran a webinar hosted by Kingsbridge’s own Legal Manager, Nicola Hayman, Matt Tyler from IR35 Specialists Larsen Howie and Andy Chamberlain, IPSE’s IR35 Spokesman.

The webinar was designed to be practical – arming contractors with information that can help them be proactive in preparing themselves and educating their end clients in the run up to 6th April. The session attracted a lot of contractors keen to ensure they’re ready for the IR35 reforms scheduled to be implemented on 6th April 2020 (just over a month away). For those who weren’t able to make it though, we’ve put together this summary of all the pertinent points or you can catch the full recording on Youtube.

(Information correct at time of recording: 20th February 12.30pm)

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Can IR35 be backdated?

calculator blog

With the IR35 reforms now just over a month away, it really is time to get your house in order by checking your contracts and working practices to ensure you’re safely and legitimately outside IR35. If not, we recommend you have necessary conversations with end clients and recruiters to make sure everything is ship-shape for 6th April.

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