Contractors operating their own limited company have some big changes in store this April, when Real Time Information (RTI for short) comes into force.
HMRC were due to release details of their IR35 business test, designed to help contractors and freelancers "self-assess" their status, on April 6th. As this date fell on a public holiday the release has been delayed. HMRC and IR35 Forum members have variously said the delays would be "a week or few".
The "pro-business" 2012 Budget may have provided many boons for large businesses in the form of an extra 1% cut in the Main Rate of Corporation Tax (which will now fall from 26% to 24% in April), increased R&D tax credits, and a 5% income tax cut for their wealthy executives, but there was little...
The Agency Workers Regulations have been in effect for almost six months now, and despite predications of 500,000 contracts being axed, the temporary work sector - including most contractors and freelancers - has been remarkably undamaged.
So far IT contractors have been remarkably resilient to the economic downturn. The shedding of costly full-time IT staff by large corporates and the civil service has meant a relative boom-time for contractors as the demand for flexible workers expanded.
The contractor and freelancer world have been all atwitter these past few weeks after it was revealed that Student Loans Company Chief Executive Ed Lester received his pay through a limited company despite being an obvious employee of the firm. This is in stark contrast to HMRC's stance on so-called disguised employment - which contractors...
Several surveys and studies in 2011 highlighted the fact that contractors and freelancers who wish to grow their business are put off by the excessive red tape and financial burden that comes with taking on employees. Now a prominent Libertarian think-tank called the Adam Smith Institute has published the first part of a paper called...
The British Chambers of Commerce has added their voice to the growing concerns over red tape for contractors, freelancers and small businesses. The BCC has called for increased deregulation to allow small firms to acquire the skills they need through extra employees.
IR35, as with all legislation, is a constantly evolving beast. With every new case comes new case law that contractors, freelancers, and employment experts can use to try to stay one step ahead of HMRC's hamfisted enforcement of the much-maligned anti-avoidance rules.
There was hope for contractors affected by IR35 last week as both Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg publicly stated the Government was looking at introducing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule to tackle tax dodgers, which could render IR35 redundant.
As part of their ongoing attempts to coax the UK's wavering economy back to life, in 2010 the Government introduced a scheme called National Insurance Holidays. This tax relief system allows first-time employers to forego employer National Insurance Contributions for their first ten employees up to a maximum value of £5,000 per employee.
New figures released by Eurostat last week have painted a bleak picture of the state of small business financing in the UK. The figures (PDF link) show that between 2007 and 2010 as the recession began to bite, the number of failed SME loan applications quadrupled from 5.6% of all applications to 20.8%.