Tag Archive | "national insurance"

Your Tax Cut = Declined!

It was thought our government were going to cut tax for 2.7 million self employed workers (including contractors). So what happened?

As usual with our government their plans have turned to mush and all of those hours of careful consideration are now directly in the bin.

“DECLINED!” was the final verdict on a tax cut for the self employed, which means the hard working contractors and freelancers of this nation will have to keep on paying through the nose, month after month and year after year.

If you were looking forward to paying less tax then let this blog post be a rude awakening for you, right now, as you read these words.

Those government officials are not your friend. They are toying with you, just like a cat toys with a piece of string.

They hang that carrot in front of your face and whip your behind…constantly promising less tax while making you pay more.

Are you not fed up with being treated like this? You should be, and if you are then you can get revenge by hiring a contractor accountant.

A contractor accountant is someone who knows exactly how to help you pay less tax (legally), which means you no longer have to wait around for the government to give you a helping hand.

Instead, you can now take control of your own financial destiny by choosing one of the best contractor accountants in the UK.

Imagine paying a contractor accountant £100 a month and then paying £500 a month LESS tax.

I don’t know about you, but in my world that is basically free money. You can literally profit by hiring a contractor accountant. You can buy pounds for pennies.

You have to act fast though because the contractor accountants we recommend (the best) have very limited places on their schedules. They can only take on so many clients because they like to have personal relationships with each and every one of them.

This isn’t the type of accountant relationship where you speak to a robot on the phone. You get a personal service where they know your first name and the name of your dog.

Back to the story, and the government had originally planned to get rid of Class 2 National Insurance contributions for 2.7 million self employed people, which is roughly half of our nations self employed.

A politician has called it – “a betrayal of self employed people.”

I agree…and I’m sure you do too. So you know what to do…hire a contractor accountant right now.

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The New “Silver Striver” Tax – What You Should Know…

There are currently over a million so called “silver strivers” still clocking in and out everyday. They don’t want retirement…they want to work.

This over 65 age bracket enjoy raking in the cash, there is no doubt about that, and, right now as we speak, they don’t pay any National Insurance.

Why? Because they have already paid into the system, year after year. Many workers over the age of 65 already have 40 years of National Insurance contributions to their name. That is more than enough if you ask me.

Unfortunately, it seems the government don’t care about my opinion or the hard working “silver strivers” of our nation.

So it didn’t come as any surprise when a government backed commission recently announced that over 65’s who have a regular salary should NOT get a pass when it comes to National Insurance.

What they are proposing is that every over 65 worker will be paying top whack, week in and week out, just like the rest of the workforce.

This also includes self employed workers by the way. Contractors and freelancers who are over 65 will have to pay…and pay they will, to the tune of £2 billion pounds a year.

No wonder the government want to tax the over 65’s. I can imagine them sitting around a long table in a meeting room, all suited and booted and with one main agenda on their minds…”How can we get more money?”

“Tax the silver surfers,” is what one official suggested, no doubt.

“What a great idea,” replied the person at the head of the table. “Put that into action. Meeting over.”

So here we are. Right on the brink of our hard working over 65s about to be taken advantage of, yet again.

It wouldn’t surprise me if many of these workers and self employed people decide that enough is enough. “Might as well retire for good,” they will say.

For those of you who are not going to give in, especially those brave contractors and freelancers over the age of 65, then my advice is to hire a contractor accountant.

Sure, you might be forced to pay National Insurance contributions once again. There is nothing you can do about that. However, if you have a good contractor accountant in your corner they can help you save money in other ways.

In other words, you won’t be out of pocket, and for many contractors over 65 you will be in profit.

Hire a contractor accountant today and experience the satisfaction of victory for yourself.

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For Contractors Who Don’t Have Time For Tax or NI…

Ask any contractor what they dislike the most and they will all say “paying tax.” I guarantee it.

That is why a new report that has just been released is sure to become a hit among contractors around the country.

The reason? Because this report has the simple message that many have been waiting to hear:

“Pay less tax and scrap National Insurance”

I can hear the crowds of contractors cheering as those words are spoken, but, in my opinion you might to hold on a bit before firing your contractor accountant and ripping up your tax form.

A revolution on the cards? Maybe, but until the government are convinced to change anything then this report remains what it is right now…just a few pieces of paper that have been stuck together.

You know what I usually do with these reports, right? “directly in my bin” is what I normally say after flicking unenthusiastically through a few pages before turning my attention to Jeremy Kyle and the latest “Which Chav is the Dad?” Episode.

So to recap…reports usually go in the bin, but this recent one hasn’t yet, mainly because I have not read through it. Just a quick glance.

I hear good things though, and some experts are even saying that by self employed people paying less tax and not paying any National Insurance at all, then it could actually mean Billions more for the UK economy.

Even better, for those contractors out there in the higher income bracket, well, your tax obligation would be brought in line with that of an average income.

You would still need the services of a contractor accountant of course, but your tax bill would get less expensive.

It is actually a left leaning “think tank” (not to be confused with a fish tank) that has come up with this report, and what they are basically saying is that everyone should pay the same tax, no matter what your income.

A bit like the communist ideology I suppose..”we are all equal, and equal pay for all, no matter what your skills.”

Sounds good, especially when you are reading it in a text book and being cheered on by all of your fellow communist college friends..but what about when you get in the real world, what then?

Paying less tax and no National Insurance would be great of course, but the problem is that it needs to be based on reality.

So it is with great regret that this new report is going the way of all those other reports that have found their way to my desk…straight in the bin.

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The 60% Tax Rate Scandal Many Don’t Know About

If you make £60,000 per year as a contractor, then you could be paying more tax than someone who makes over £1,000,000 a year.

It’s just come to my attention that there is a scandal in the UK and it’s all about how some people, including contractors, are charged an “unfair” rate of tax.

Scandals are nothing new of course. You only have to read this blog on a weekly basis to hear stories of how the government and those in power are really messing around the average hard working man and woman on the street…and don’t get me started on those billionaire playboys who lounge around on their luxury yachts in the south of France.

Anyway, this latest story is all about how some self employed people are being charged 60% tax, despite the fact they make £60,000 a year. This is in contrast to many six figure earners and millionaires, who pay less tax at a rate of about 45%. Well they are supposed to, but some reports suggest many pay even less.

If you are paying 60% on a 60k salary then you are no doubt about ready to give up completely. You might as well just go and sign on down the local job centre, you would probably come away with more at the end of the year.

So why are some contractors and freelancers paying 60% tax anyway? While we won’t get into the specifics in this blog post, what I can tell you is that it has a lot to do with National Insurance Contributions and lack of tax free allowances and benefits.

It all gets a bit complicated, and that is why I advise anyone that is being taxed 60% to seek out a contractor accountant to look at your situation and advise you on the best way forward.

Why should those millionaires and billionaires be laughing all the way to the bank while you barely have anything to put in your bank? It’s the government taking all your money, while the super rich get away with it once again. Not anymore.

This gives you a chance to fight back and get your rate of taxation down to where it should be…around 40% for a contractor who makes £60,000 a year.

Don’t just take my word for it though, contact a contractor accountant right now and speak with an expert immediately. You will be glad you did.

A good contractor accountant will often pay for themselves with all the things they can do for your business. They are like magicians without the rabbit and hat, and they will never ask you to “pick a card, any card.”

Instead, it is straight to business with plain talking advice and a no-nonsense approach that is both refreshing and satisfying. Say goodbye to 60% tax and say hello to more money in your pocket.


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Is IR35 going the way of the dodo?

New rumors are swirling that IR35 finally may getting tossed out in the street – but are we throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the newest rumor coming out of Westminster right now that IR35 regulations might be getting dismantled might not be the best news for the contractor community. While disguised employment has been a right pain for all too many of us, and the idea of it going away for good should seem like cause for celebration, the problem here isn’t that it’s going away but what’s rumored to take its place.

So what fresh hell is this that we’re in for? Hold on to your knickers: the new rumor is that, in place of IR35 tests to determine if you’re an employee or not, you’ll simply be made into an employee after a certain amount of time spent working for a particular client. While it seems like more than a bit of over-reaching when it comes to the Government determining your employment status for you, in some situations this could be appropriate, such as when you’ve been working for the same client exclusively for a year or more. But that’s not what’s being planned, according to the rumors coming out of the Treasury – apparently the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to set the threshold at a single month.

Yes, you read that right. George Osborne in his infinite wisdom wants to forcibly convert you from contractor to an employee if you work for any client for a month or more. Do you feel gutted right now? Because I know I do. So yes, you’re going to have to be responsible for paying National Insurance if you work 32 days or more for the same client, because the Treasury is bleeding money and it needs to plug up the holes with as much cash as possible.

The Government says it’ll make around £400 million more a year in revenues from this “brilliant” plan, and will throw out IR35 regulation as a result, since it won’t be needed anymore since contracting will effectively be a thing of the past. Sure, I suppose you can continue to work for clients as a freelancer as long as you never take a project that lasts more than a month, but that’s no way to live, is it? Honestly, for what it’s worth, I’m tired of the Government making our lives more complex and complicated just in the search for more money for it to mismanage and misspend.

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Government offers new guidance to the self-employed

The Government in its infinite wisdom has decided to offer new guidance for the self-employed like freelancers and contractors to help set things straight.

Self-employment as a way to make a living has become so popular over the last few years that more Brits are working for themselves than ever before. However, even in the face of that there are plenty of individuals who are dying to make the jump to working for themselves – but sometimes it seems so complicated a task that it’s simply too daunting to pull the trigger; believe it or not the Government has come through in order to let people know that striking out as a sole trader or contractor doesn’t mean that they have to necessarily go it alone.

In fact, with some of the biggest problems self-employed Brits face in the realm of navigating things like self-assessment tax returns and National Insurance, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has stepped into the breach to provide some comfort in the form of a shedload of free online courses the self-employed can take to provide the knowledge they need; it’s likely the next best thing to going out and becoming a chartered accountant in your own right, if you ask me.

The courses HMRC is offering focus on a number of topics and start with a slew of business emails designed to make it a snap for those thinking of jumping into entrepreneurship to build the infrastructure for their new endeavours. The free service, according to the taxman, should help professionals gain a better understanding in order to set up their own business properly.

If that wasn’t enough, HMRC says it will also host several one hour long webinars that will cover important topics. Attendees can ask questions during the presentations; participation requires showing up at your computer just five minutes in advance to log in, but for those who prefer just to watch and listen you need only go to YouTube to watch the video afterwards.

Finally, the tax authority is providing more materials to nascent self-employed Brits that clarifies what their tax requirements will be in the form of more expressive guidance. This last part is likely to be quite helpful for any number of contractors and freelance workers.

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HMRC snubbed by Court of Appeal overturning previous ruling

The Court of Appeal just sent Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to the woodshed, overturning a previous ruling that categorised a scheme as tax avoidance.

Thst’s right – judges decided against HMRC’s insistence that a scheme designed to save company directors millions of pounds in taxes was legitimate and not an example of tax avoidance or tax evasion. The upper tribunal said that essentially it’s permissible to pay employee bonuses in shares instead of cash in order to reduce their tax liabilities.

This is actually quite a big deal when it comes to how far the taxman can reach in rooting out tax dodgers. The decision sets a precedent as far as what kinds of schemes HMRC can go after and what kinds of activities are considered to rise to the level of artificial and unacceptable amounts of tax avoidance. That’s not my language by the way – as far as I’m concerned, any level of tax avoidance is unacceptable, whether it’s committed by a multinational company or a humble contractor – but that’s how the courts are looking at it.

Now the initial ruling – that the scheme was indeed tax avoidance – had been a major feather in the cap for the tax authority when it worked its way through the courts initially in 2013. Treasury minister David Gauke was positively chuffed to bits at the time, recounting how the ruling was a major victory for HMRC and that it stood as a warning for any other firms that sought to pull the wool over the taxman’s eyes; now, I’m sure Mr Gauke was unavailable for comment as he was busy eating crow at the time.

For what it’s worth, the upper tribunal judges did acknowledge that the result of the scheme was rather unattractive since it did indeed reduce tax liabilities. However, there was no way around the fact that shares were restricted securities and couldn’t be considered when it comes to national insurance or income tax. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you can’t alter the laws as they’re written – and there’s only so much room for interpretation as well.  Maybe next time they shouldn’t be written with these massive loopholes in mind – that might solve the problem of having too many rich bastards slip through the cracks, eh?

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PwC’s Citizen’s Jury comes out in support of tax integration

A Citizen’s Jury formed by PwC has come out in support of a Conservative suggestion to integrate National Insurance payments with income tax.

The Tories, which say that if a future government with them at the helm came about sometime in the future, have said that simplifying the tax system in such a way would be one of the major tax reforms it would be looking to implement. The idea behind doing so would be to make it easier for freelancers, contractors and other self-employed individuals to comply with their tax responsibilities.

The Citizen’s Jury more or less came out to endorse the idea, as the current way NI and income tax is split is viewed as a misleading one. Of course it’s interesting to note that the lion’s share of those interviewed would rather see personal allowances increased instead of altering the basic tax rate. Changes for the higher tax rate – of course reserved for those who make shedloads of cash – were left untouched largely. No surprise there, especially since most people just don’t like rich people who try to get away with murder.

So it’s interesting to me that PwC found some folks that came out in support of this idea. On the one hand it’s important that the tax system in the UK remains fit for purpose, and with the massive numbers of freelancers and contract workers needing better support from the Government when it comes to their tax burdens – and the amount of complete and total confusion surrounding the way contract workers and the current tax system interact with one another. For lack of  better term, it’s a complete and utter shambles and needs a serious overhaul.

Will the Tories save the world with this new scheme? Somehow I have my doubts. They are the Tories after all, and they’re less qualified to find their way out of a corner shop with their eyes closed than they are to run a government sometimes. That being said at this point I’m willing to try more or less anything if it works! Is this how aging women desperate to find a rich and successful husband feel?

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Tories considering campaigning on tax system simplification

The Conservatives like to say they support British businesses, including the self-employed, but now they may be ready to put their money where their mouth is.

Believe it or not, but the Tories are kicking about the idea of including a new tax system simplification proposal as a talking point just in time for the next general election. The idea is to combine income tax and National Insurance into just one sum in an effort to streamline the process and also provide better transparency.

The new ‘earnings tax’ as it may be come to be called would mean around a 32 per cent rate for those paying basic tax, while anyone qualifying for the higher rate will have to shell out a grand total of 52 per cent of their taxable income every year. This is something that Chancellor George Osborne has been purportedly attempting to slip into the Budget but balked this year, mostly because there’s already been so many problems with the whole Real Time Information programme for PAYE that he must have thought better of it – at least waiting until the kinks are worked out of the system.

Now regardless of what you may think about the Tories, you have to hand it to them – a system like this would definitely benefit the nation’s cadre of freelancers and contractors. In fact any self-employed Brit will likely benefit from a simplified tax system, especially since it will lessen any administrative burdens contract workers are currently under – and for what it’s worth, it seems that it would make compliance more than a bit easier as well!

So on the surface it does seem like a good idea. Many people may feel that the tax system is overdue for a serious overhaul, as it’s been decades since any substantial changes have been made to it. Of course plenty of other people simply feel that you shouldn’t meddle with things that are working correctly, as throwing a spanner in the works isn’t exactly the best way to keep a finely-tuned piece of machinery like the British economy going. I suppose it remains to be seen if the Conservatives actually come forward with this new plan in time for the next general election – and whether it truly will benefit the self-employed.

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National Insurance to get a cosmetic name change?

So let me get this right: some MP thinks that by changing the name of National Insurance to “Earnings Tax” will make it more understandable?

The way the mind of the modern politician works is bloody incomprehensible. I mean think about how Conservative MP Ben Gummer wants to overhaul NI – but not by changing legislation or anything but simply by giving it a new name. What in the world is this going to accomplish?

Now listen – I’m not opposed to making tax simpler. Contractors and other self-employed Brits already have a devil of a time coping with all these layers of red tape, especially since they don’t have the power of a whole accounting department behind them like these multinationals that keep causing trouble by slaloming through all the tax loopholes that they lobbied so hard to have put in, and that means there is absolutely a need for streamlining and reforming taxation in the UK. It’s what the Office of Tax Simplification is all about after all, but wouldn’t it be better to effect real change instead of simply slapping a new coat of paint on an old house and then trying to sell it as new construction?

So give me a break, I mean honestly now. Can’t we spend valuable time and resources on making it easier for Brits, both the self-employed and the more traditionally permanently employed, to pay their taxes instead of simply making it sound easier without actually changing anything? This is just as bad as the HMRC guidance on disguised employment that came out a few years ago that turned the IR35 community on its ear, despite the fact that the legislation actually didn’t change. I can easily foresee more horror stories arising from this ill-thought out idea that’s been cooked up in an effort to make it look like the Government is moving towards tax transparency.

I suppose I’m old-fashioned for expecting real and effective change coming out of Parliament. I don’t know what I was thinking. I do know that calling National Insurance by a different name isn’t going to make a bloody difference to anyone except maybe Mr Gummer’s apparently shaky self-esteem. Well, this is who you voted in, Ipswich – I hope you’re happy with him!

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Do we need to raise NI contributions for the self-employed?

Hold on to your hats, contractors – a major think tank recently recommended that the days of the self-employed paying less National Insurance should end.

A recent report from CentreForum says that freelancers and contract workers just aren’t paying their fair share when it comes to NI contributions. In fact, the author of the report, Adam Corlett – a bloke sure to receive more than a few bits of hate mail in the post from contractors after this – insists that the self-employed enjoy a ‘tax break’ that amounts to some £1.6 billion a year, simply because freelancers pay nine per cent or so on National Insurance, while traditional employees pay around 12 per cent.

Mr Corlett trotted out the whole ‘tax avoidance’ chestnut, remarking that there’s much too much opportunity for the self-employed (or those a bit too skint to pay their National Insurance) to get away with murder. It sounds like a damned witch hunt to me, only with contractors having the dubious honour of the ones being hunted down; yes, CentreForum insists that if their report was followed to the letter by the Government only those self-employed earning massive amounts of cash would actually be affected, but we’ve all heard that before haven’t we?

Is it just me or isn’t there already a framework in place to ensure that the self-employed don’t get away with paying less money than they should? Why in the world do we even have IR35 if we’re just going to make contractors and freelancers pay what everyone else has to pay, despite the fact that a self-employed worker’s life is just that much more complicated than everyone else’s as it is?

Furthermore why aren’t we spending more time on getting multinationals to stop avoiding the tax they owe? CentreForum can talk about freelancers ‘paying their fair share’ all they want, but that £1.6 billion annual shortfall is peanuts compared to what firms such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Google funnel overseas every quarter I’ll wager; let’s go after them and leave these contractors alone.

It’s typical – no one cares about a three percentage point difference when times are good, but as soon as the government starts seeing their coffers run dry because of a worldwide economic recession that was started by banking institutions that were supposedly ‘too big to fail,’ they go looking for ordinary Brits to foot the bill. And then people wonder why there are massive riots in places like Greece, Turkey, and Brazil – people are tired of being put through the wringer because the government is incompetent!

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Tell the taxman if you’re shuttering your doors

If you’re a freelancer or contractor and you’re going out of business either because you’re shuttering our doors or your selling your business, tell the taxman!

That is, at least, the message that’s been pushed by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, as the tax collector recently issued reminders to everyone who would listen that, yes, you need to pay your taxes, even if you’re getting out of the freelancing business and moving on to greener pastures. HMRC says that it’s a requirement to inform it if you are indeed selling on or closing your business, and in order to make it easier for contractors or freelancers – though it’s hard to believe that the taxman would ever make anything easier for anyone ever – there’s now a handy online form that a contractor or freelancer can fill out if they have plans to cease trading.

The online form requires you to reveal a myriad of information including a contractor’s national insurance number, taxpayer code, and other personal contact details. The form pays particular interest to the national insurance and self assessment contributions of a contractor, and since so many Brits have indeed turned to self-employment as a way to make ends meet, this new online form could see a large impact if this new crop of freelancers decide to return to traditional full-time permanent employment sometime in the future, perhaps when the dust settles and economy finally recovers fully – though when that could be is more or less anyone’s guess, what with the absolute mess of things in the eurozone at the moment.

Still, contractors and freelancers have indeed played an important role in trying to push the economy more towards recovery than anything else, so it may not be as long as you think before we see people leaving their freelancing gigs and returning to regular employment. Unemployment in the UK is most definitely lower than it could be right now thanks to the contributions of contractors, and since contract workers are so flexible this allows firms to still complete projects without the larger cash outlay that permanent employees would lead to, keeping costs down and maximising revenues, so if nothing else contracting is playing an important role in its attempt to kickstart the economy once more, regardless of the massive mess in the eurozone.

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Government cracks down on use of tax avoidance schemes

Even though the net is closing around the practice already, the Government is going to begin instituting even stronger limitations on firms using tax avoidance.

‘Tax avoidance’ has become synonymous with ‘corporate greed’ lately, what with outrage building in the public consciousness about how huge multinationals operating in the UK have been finding ways to pay just a fraction of their tax responsibilities, cheating HM Revenue & Customs out of literally billions of pounds in revenue. However, the Government’s efforts to clamp down on tax avoidance schemes are going to be broadened even further in the immediate future, according to Deloitte, with the firm predicting that Chancellor George Osborne will be dropping the hammer on limited liability partnerships, and doing so will have an effect on not just large firms but small businesses and the contractors they can use to undertake work.

This could be a serious blow for any freelancer or contractor that already has to deal with the IR35 rule, especially since the Government has already been quite keen on strengthening the regulations for sniffing out instances of disguised employment. IR35 is of course designed to ferret out anyone working directly for a company as they would if they were a permanent employee but is instead listed as an independent contractor in order to reduce the amount of tax they pay, as contractors aren’t normally subject to or are only responsible for limited PAYE or National Insurance tax payments; particularly shady firms enjoy cutting corners this way in order to minimise their tax liabilities, but what with the UK economy still in rough shape the Government has decided to try to close as many loopholes as possible.

While I think it’s a fantastic thing to root out corporate corruption on the part of multinationals such as Google, Starbucks, and Amazon in shirking their tax duties – and let’s be honest, these massive companies should truly know better than to engage in such immoral activities, regardless of whether or not there are no laws specifically barring them from doing so – the problem is that the Government is likely casting its net too wide and will only end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. By having any new anti-tax avoidance rules apply to small-scale firms, freelancers, and contractors, the sheer amount of grief that these new rules will cause these people and companies is going to be overwhelming while at the same time not really benefiting HMRC all that much in bringing in missed income; instead, the Government should seek to reclaim the billions from crafty multinationals that can stand to lose such vast sums of cash.

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Brace yourself, contractors: your NIC payments could go up

The good times may be over for contractors as new reports emerge that their National Insurance Contributions may be slated for increases sometime soon.

There are well over 4 million contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed Brits working in the UK. These lucky millions have lower National Insurance obligations than permanent workers, as contract workers currently only qualify for the basic £107.45 weekly State pension, unlike regular employees who also pay into the secondary £160 weekly extra ‘top up’ pension – but this may soon come to an abrupt and screeching halt.

There are new plans on the horizon to revamp the pension system, and the new pension scheme – which would see everyone qualifying for around £144 in weekly pension payments regardless of whether they’re traditionally employed or work as a contractor – would see NIC payments for freelancers increasing to match the new figure. The new system would also put an end to tax avoidance schemes used by people falsely claiming to be contract workers in order to avoid their National Insurance tax obligations – a situation that unfortunately has been much in the news lately thanks to a select few bastards that will seemingly do anything to maximise their cash flow while putting a thumb in the eye of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.

This is, of course, why there has been such a furore over the whole IR35 ‘disguised employment’ rule over the past year or so, and how new changes to the rule will see it affecting a broader range of public sector contractors – perhaps unfairly. Criticism of IR35 has been hotting up over the past few months, with freelancing industry bodies speaking out against the possibility of a heightened number of costly IR35 investigations of freelancers and contractors that will most likely prove to be unfounded yet will still do great financial damage to these self-employed contract workers through having to defend against official IR35 enquiries.

In a way – and I know this sounds a bit odd, but bear with me here – a change to the National Insurance Contribution scheme that puts both freelancers and permanent workers on an even footing would go far towards weeding out people who are just hiding behind the fig leaf of contract working to avoid higher NIC payments. Of course, this means that, effectively, freelancers will experience a tax hike, though the trade-off is that they’re putting the money towards a larger pension when it comes time to retire; hopefully the country will still be in one piece by then and people can still claim their pensions at that point!

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