Tag Archive | "self-employed"

Self-Assessment Deadline is Looming

File your personal tax online? Well, just in case you’d forgotten, January 31 is fast approaching, and so without further ado, it’s time to get your tax return done.

If you’re smart, you already use one of our amazing recommended accountants who has already completed your return for you, or has given you the data you need to submit your personal return, while for others less savvy, now is the time to start ploughing through those receipts and invoices and trying to make head or tail of what you can claim for and what you owe.

Before you start, make sure you have up to date information on allowable expenses – these include:

Office expenses – including stationery, postage, printing, software and business equipment (although these may fall under capital allowances in some circumstances).

Business expenses – rent, maintenance, repair, utility bills and insurance fees. This can include part of your home if you’re a home worker. You can use HMRC’s simplified claim process to claim a fixed amount for the year, rather than having to work it all out yourself. They have some handy guides online for what to do and how much you can claim this way.

Marketing – any costs from marketing, such as social media advertising, print ads, mailshots etc., can all be claimed back. 

Travel – these include business-related car or van costs, including fuel, repairs, servicing and insurance, train or air travel, hotel accommodation and meals. Travelling to and from your place of work does not count, even if you are self-employed, although travel for business meetings does. As with business expenses, there is a simplified expenses method to claim for these costs. 

Stock and materials – a bit of a no brainer, but don’t forget to claim for the costs of doing your business, like equipment, materials and any production costs. 

Legal and financial – yes, you can claim against the fees charged by your wonderful contractor accountant. One of the reasons that so many savvy self-employed use an accountant is not only that they spare you the nightmare of paperwork, but that they can often identify a number of things you can claim for that will ensure they are saving you more than they cost you to retain. 

Membership and subscriptions – if you need to be a member of a trade body to do your work, you can claim back against the costs, as you can for any relevant trade journal subscription fees. 

So there you have it. If you aren’t sure, pick up the phone and ask your accountant for advice (better now than the end of the month, when they will be on everyone’s speed dial). Otherwise, check the HMRC website, which thankfully is much better than it has been in previous years and actually contains some useful information you can use.

Happy filing!

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How to Build Your Contractor Brand

Working as a contractor is tough, as you likely already know. If you work on just a single contract at a time, you have the issue of not knowing when it may end, or risk sudden termination if the company gets into trouble or needs to make cutbacks, leaving you out in the cold. If you work for multiple clients simultaneously, you have a constant search for new business, to keep driving jobs and making sure there is money in the bank at the end of each week.

What can you do to help make your life easier? Here’s our top tips:

  • Subscribe to job alerts. CV-Library was recently named the best job site for UK contractors to find work. (Others are also available). Set up email alerts direct to your inbox with links to potential new opportunities to ensure you don’t miss out.
  • Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.Ask previous clients for recommendations and endorsements, as third parties telling the world how great you are having endless benefits. Build your presence by commenting on stories of companies you follow, where you believe opportunities for you may exist either now or in the future.
  • Consider creating your own website, if you don’t have one. Your own URL and email address adds a sense of professionalism, and acts as a shop window to the work that you do and the services that you offer. If you don’t have time to create one yourself, sites such as Upwork, Peopleperhour and Fiverr can be a great place to find someone to help you create one for a reasonable cost. 
  • Consider outsourcing your accounts. Of course, there are packages to enable you to manage accounting online, but these can’t help advise you on potential tax savings you can make as a contractor, or the benefits and perks you may be missing when you file your tax return. Fill out our simple form to find the best accounting companies who can help you out.
  • Think about using an umbrella company. Operating under a limited company framework, rather than self-employed has benefits for some contractors, but aithough the hassle of having to prepare and file quarterly statements to HMRC. 
  • Too much admin?Again, outsource it. A virtual PA can help you get through that pile of papers on your desk and can work on a single project, or a few hours a week to help you keep on top of things.
  • Take advantage of local business networking services.Many Chambers of Commerce have free to attend breakfast meet ups, where you can meet potential future clients. 
  • If you work from home, consider shared office space.Communal working in a shared office space doesn’t have to be expensive. It can get you out of the rut of being alone all day and gives you an opportunity to meet potential future collaborators or clients. 
  • If you’re an office-based contractor, take time building relationships with people outside of your immediate team. You may find even though your project is coming to an end, that an opportunity exists elsewhere in the organisation, and, if a company knows you and likes you, you’ve already got your foot in the door if you have a relationship with the team and project manager.
  • Never stop learning. Use your commute time to get on YouTube and learn new skills that can boost your current skill-set. Just 30 minutes a day can take your skills to the next level or broaden them so you’ll be ideally placed for the next contract that comes your way.  

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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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Company Boss Avoids Prison for Tax Cheating

We’ve heard about how accountants are avoiding prison when they get into trouble…it’s now the turn of company bosses.

That’s right. A tax cheat boss who owned a plumbing company in Stockport recently got caught by HMRC, where they found that over a 10 year period he had failed to pay approximately £65,000 to the government.

Not only that, but the plumber also neglected to send a cheque to the VAT man between the years of 2004 and 2014, and during that time only paid £750 in tax.

This is despite his plumbing business doing very well during that time, where investigators found that he spent nearly £50,000 on advertising and bought a flashy van for the business, a VW transporter that retails for around £25,000.

It also emerged that he wasn’t doing badly when it came to his personal life, with flashy cars and private school fees being the norm during those 10 years, while at the same time HMRC received barely anything.

An Audi RS6 found its way into his garage with a reported cost of nearly £90,000, while a cheaper BMW 116d SE was purchased…as a backup to the Audi no doubt.

£65,000 was the amount the company boss spent to send his children to private school. It’s good to see they are getting a good education, it’s just unfortunate he didn’t pay the government first, which is what everyone should do of course.

It doesn’t matter if you are a self employed business owner, freelance worker, or contracting professional. Just get yourself an accountant and do everything above board is my advice.

Appearing in court, the company owner admitted that he had evaded tax, VAT, and national insurance contributions, and before an onlooking jury, the judge slammed down the hammer and gave the boss 2 years in the slammer.

However, those 2 years were quickly suspended, which means he will avoid going to prison right now, and as long as the boss doesn’t do anything similar in the future then it should never come to that.

The plumber did get 300 hours of unpaid work as a punishment though, as well as a 3 month curfew where he wasn’t allowed to leave the house after a certain time.

The judge and jury also decided that all of the £65,000 in lost taxes must be paid back by the plumbing company owner, and if that didn’t happen within 3 months then he could very well find himself having to visit the local nick and spend a bit of time.

I think the message is clear here…pay your taxes and you will be fine, but don’t pay your taxes and you might just have your very own day in court.

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Accountant Steals £350k – “Unfit For Prison” Says Judge

When you hire an accountant you expect them to save money for your business…You don’t expect £350k to find its way into their pocket.

Unfortunately, some accountants don’t play by the rules, and this is what a court has been hearing about in a recent case.

The story in brief? An accountant was hired by a technology firm to do their books and make sure everything went smoothly. However, this particular accountant had other ideas, and instead, she proceeded to steal around £350,000 that would go on to fund her online poker addiction, the court heard.

Under scrutiny from prosecutors, the accountant went on to tell how she got the cash out of the business by creating over 400 fake invoices.

Well, the judge decided this just wasn’t on at all, and once found guilty the accountant was on the brink of being given a sentence of 3 years and 4 months in prison, which as many people would no doubt agree with, is reasonable punishment for committing such a crime, especially when you consider the amount of money involved.

However, just as the the judge was about to slam the hammer down and send the accountant directly to jail without passing go or collecting £200, it appears the judge had a change of mind and came to the conclusion she was “unfit for prison.”

This means the accountant won’t be relaxing in a cell and watching TV all day with her feet up, oh no, it was decided she would get a 2 year suspended sentence and also be hit with 250 hours of unpaid work.

The decision has been met with almost universal outcry from business owners, contractors, freelancers, and self employed people around the country, who argue that it sends out completely the wrong message, especially when you consider the crime that was comitted

If an accountant can steal over a quarter of a million pounds from a business, which let’s face it, would be enough to send a lot of people out of business, and then avoid prison or any kind of serious punishment, then many other accountants are going to start thinking it’s ok to do this kind of thing.

In my opinion, this accountant should have gone to prison and be made to serve time behind bars. If you don’t punish these type of crimes in the right manner, then we can expect to be hearing more stories about stealing and corruption over the next few years.

Which is a shame really, because I’ve always thought of accountants as trustworthy and respectable, where you can hand them the “keys of your business” so to speak, and then leave them to work their magic on your books and save you money.

You don’t expect them to be filling their own pockets and then lying to your face, but as we are hearing about now…it does happen.

That is why I always recommend to use a recommended site, such as this one, where you can find the contact details of professional and trusted accountants who are there to serve you and your business in the right manner.

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Cash in Hand Jobs Should be Outlawed Suggests Report

Self employed workers that deal mainly in cash should be stopped, this is according to a new report by a guy called Matthew Taylor.

The report has been titled the “Taylor Review of Modern Work Practices” and comes in at a hefty 116 pages. I’m not sure how many people are going to read it from cover to cover, but I’m sure a few people have skimmed through and taken some notes.

According to Matthew Taylor and his report, the practice of “cash in hand” payments should be outlawed by the government, and if implemented, it would result in an extra £6 Billion worth of tax every year for HMRC.

Typically, the types of professions that accept cash are window cleaners, builders, plumbers, and other kinds of tradespeople, although it is thought that many other industries also have a secret cash society that is not often talked about.

Some have even suggested that professional contractors and freelancers take payments in cash, but who knows for sure exactly what is going on? As long as you declare everything on your tax return and don’t hide anything then I don’t really see what the problem is.

However, The Taylor Report has called for the government to do more to bring in technology for cashless payments, so that self employed people such as window cleaners and builders wouldn’t have to take any cash at all.

Also, the report went on to add that any tradespeople who are subcontracting for companies will instantly have their tax sorted out through PAYE when paid through digital payments, which would make life a lot easier for millions of self employed people.

My opinion on all of this? I think that cashless payments is the future of getting paid when you are self employed, but outlawing being paid by cash? That is just pure madness if you ask me.

Some tradespeople prefer to receive cash and many customers still like to pay with it. I don’t think there should be any interference from the government with this…they should trust anyone who is getting cash in hand to declare it, and if they suspect someone of not paying tax on any cash they earn, then an investigation should be launched.

As far as I’m concerned, as long as we still use cash in society, then you should have the ability to pay or get paid with it.

The Prime Minister agrees with me on this one it appears, because a spokesperson from Downing Street recently commented that there was no plans to ban cash in hand payments.

It’s good to see there is still some common sense within the government, and I’m sure they chucked the “Taylor Review of Modern Work Practices” directly into the bin at Number 10.

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Contractors Spend 19 Million Hours on Their Finances

When it comes to balancing the books as a contractor you would think the logical thing to do is hire an accountant. Apparently not.

A new survey just published shows us that contractors and the self employed in general are wasting an estimated 19 million hours every month on doing their own finances. That’s roughly 2.5 million working days that are lost, which isn’t exactly ideal if you think about it.

Contractors in the UK struggle with tasks such as keeping accurate finance records, managing cash flow and completing their annual tax return for HMRC, although a third of those surveyed said they were stressed out because of it.

Not only that, but nearly half admitted they didn’t really have any confidence in their own abilities to manage the finances, so it makes you wonder why they are doing it? Perhaps they just haven’t found the right accountant yet.

15% of people in the survey commented that managing their finances was the least enjoyable part of their business, while 43% said they were frustrated and 54% admitted to regularly making mistakes.

Surprisingly, 25% mentioned they often ask family and friends for help with things like balancing the books and filling in tax returns, but in my opinion, they should just spend a bit of money and hire a contractor accountant instead. No need to bother your family and friends if you ask me.

It’s not all doom and gloom though as 34% said they are in control of their finances (probably because they’ve got a decent accountant) and 42% even went on to say they “rated themselves highly” and were “confident” about their abilities.

What I always tell contractors and anybody that is self employed…if you find it even slightly difficult to do your own books and get everything right, then start looking for an accountant right away.

Yes they do cost a bit, but the right one will actually save you money. Also, it leaves you to do what you are best at, which is running your business and becoming more profitable.

At one point it did appear the government were going to make things easier for contractors and the self employed with the whole “making tax digital”, but it now seems that has been forgotten about.

Who knows if it will come back into favour at some point, and even be introduced to the self employed? For now the best advice I can give you is to hire a contractor accountant and let them handle everything for you.

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More People Self Employed than on Minimum Wage

While the exact figures on self employment in the UK are not known, it is estimated to be around 5 million people…more than on minimum wage.

Compare this to 10 years ago where around 3.5 million were self employed, but nearly 5 million were on minimum wage. It just goes to show that working for yourself is the place to be, rather than putting up with some stupid boss and getting paid barely anything.

They are even saying that by 2021 there will be more people self employed than working in the public sector, which doesn’t surprise me at all when you consider how the government treat many of their workers.

Despite all of these encouraging statistics and the fact that many self employed people are taking to the internet to say how great it is…the government are not that convinced, and instead, they are now saying that many people that go into self employment are “reluctant” to do so.

Yes you read that right. Here we are in a day and age where your average man or woman can wake up, go to their kitchen table and turn on their laptop and then spend a few hours “working” before going to mow the lawn or have a session down the gym, but according to the experts in the government this is wrong and more should be done to get people back into employment, and back on minimum wage no doubt.

You know, I just think some of these MPs and government workers have it in for the self employed. Maybe they are jealous? Who knows what the reason is.

Firstly, they punish their own self employed contractors, bringing in the IR35 changes that meant public sector workers ended up paying more tax.

Then Philip Hammond went on the attack against every self employed person in the UK, demanding more tax and National Insurance payments, before back tracking only a few days later after massive outrage from just about everybody in the country.

Now, it appears that many in the government want to get the self employed back into traditional employment after they have decided that most people are “reluctant.”

Yes I’m sure they are very reluctant to earn more than minimum wage while setting their own hours. Very reluctant indeed.

Every time I read one of these new news items, reports, or statistics from the government I generally give it a quick glance over before chucking it directly into my bin.

Why can’t we hear good stories about self employment, instead of the usual rubbish? I doubt anything is going to change though.

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Lloyds Business Banking – Over 100 Branches to Close

There are many contractors out there who appreciate the fact they can visit their local Lloyds bank to pay in or draw out money, but things are changing.

It’s just been announced that Lloyds are closing over 100 local branches around the country, which means a loss of 325 jobs.

This all comes on the back of 225 branches that have already closed in recent months, with it all expected to hit 400 in total by the end of the year. Gone are the days of going into your local bank and queuing for half an hour to pay in a cheque it seems.

A spokesperson for Lloyds recently said that all of these closures were due to “changing customer behaviour.” In other words, most contractors are now doing their business banking online.

Who can blame them? Would you prefer to be standing in line at your local bank at 4pm on a Friday afternoon at the end of a week of work…or would you prefer to simply use an ATM, or do your transactions online from the comfort of your office or home? The choice is clear for ,many people.

However, that isn’t to say that local banks will disappear from the high street completely, as Lloyds have announced plans to replace many of their closed branches with “futuristic” hubs that will serve contractors in the new world.

These futuristic banking hubs will have no counters, minimal staff, and be around 45ft by 45ft in size. Some experts are predicting that hundreds of these new type of branches could soon be hitting the high street, with robots taking over from humans when the technology becomes available

We may even get to a point where contractors will be sending their robotic assistant down to the local “banking hub” to pay in money to a robot. It might sound far fetched, but it’s actually closer than you might think.

There are some people out there who are outraged their local Lloyds bank is closing though. A common argument is that a sense of community is being taken away from many high streets around the country, with many towns now having no Post Office and no Banks.

I agree to a certain extent, but we must move with the times, and if customer habits are changing then major companies such as Lloyds should adjust their business accordingly.

How do you find out if your local Lloyds branch is closing? Check out their official website for details.

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The Best London Commuter Towns for Contractors

Statistics show that average property prices in London are now £585,517. Yes you read that right, and it is the main reason most people can’t afford to buy.

There are many contractors who work at firms and companies in our nations capital, but for the majority of them, living in a so called “commuter” town is the best way to get in and out of central London.

Some of these commuter towns have property at just over £200,000, which make them affordable for most contractors that have a decent income, while at the same time only being a short train ride or drive from work.

If you really want to get the best value for your money then you might want to consider moving to the East Midlands, where the average property is priced at £190,000 and regular trains run to the capital.

However, for most contractors they want to live in a town that is close to London while still being able to get to work without too much hassle.

If this includes you, then consider some of these best London commuter towns:


In the quiet area of Swanley you are only about 30 minutes away from the centre of London, and with an average house price of around £350,000 you can certainly save a bit of money.


On a budget but need to be close to the capital? Then you might want to consider the commuter town of Ebbsfleet. You will only be 18 minutes away from London, while the average house price is £220,000.

Not only that, but many experts are predicting house prices in this area are going to start getting more expensive soon, which means now is the time to get in and invest.


If you live in Slough then it will take you 17 minutes to commute into central London on a train, which costs around £3200 a year. With the average house price in Slough currently being £338,500, it definitely makes this an area worth considering for contractors if you ask me.


The average house price in Sevenoaks is not cheap at £659,800, but reports suggests it is a very nice area and a great place for contractors who want to spend their money in style, while having a place to get away from everything.

The commute from Sevenoaks into the capital is 32 minutes and costs an average of £4000 a year if you go on the train.


So there we have it…the best London commuter towns. Perfect for contractors or anyone that works for a company in the capital.

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800,000 Miss Tax Deadline (Contractors Included)

The HMRC have just released a statement saying that 800,000 self employed people missed the self assessment tax deadline this year.

That is 1 in 14 people who just couldn’t be bothered to get their tax return in on time, or perhaps they didn’t understand how? Who knows exactly, but what I do know is that it’s now easier than ever before to do your tax.

You don’t need to get any forms or send anything through the post. Everything can be done online at the HMRC website, and in the next few years they are going to be making the process even easier due to their “making tax digital” project which introduces a quarterly tax return.

Despite 800,000 people missing the tax deadline, some of whom were contractors by the way, HMRC said in their statement that things are getting better. Last year it was 8% who missed the deadline, while this year it was only 7%.

So that is 10.8 million people who did manage to get it in on time. I’m sure that many of those used a contractor accountant to get everything ready for them and even send the tax return on their behalf. It is the smart way to do things if you ask me.

Sure, hiring an accountant does cost you money upfront, but when you consider how much they save you in the long run then it’s a smart investment.

Not only that, but contractors who miss the tax deadline instantly get a 100 pound fine, which can become even more if the person still doesn’t send off their forms to HMRC.

What is interesting is that out of the 10.8 million people who did send in their tax return, 9.57 million did so online.

It just goes to show that many of our nations self employed are becoming more comfortable doing important tasks such as a tax return online, and this is one of the reasons why I think making tax digital will be a success when introduced in 2020.

Of course, it won’t be smooth sailing right from the start, and I’m sure that many people will take a while to get to grips with doing a tax return 4 times a year, but once it becomes the norm then it should make everything easier, to the point where 800,000 are not missing the tax deadline…although let’s wait to see if this happens or not.

As I’ve reported on before, there are just some contractors who find any excuse not to send in their tax returns, including excuses like the dog ate it and I don’t have the internet. Just what are some people thinking? The HMRC are having none of it though.

So the message here is clear…get your tax return in on time and don’t be one of the 800,000 who got a 100 pound fine recently.

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Expert Accountant Speaks out on Business Expenses

One of the most misunderstood aspects of working for yourself is what can be claimed as a business expense. Some people get it completely wrong.

Just like the guy who tried to put his underpants down as a business expense or the business owner who thought regular Friday night bonding sessions just had to claimed for.

Because of this confusion, a leading accountant who is an expert on all things to do with business expenses, has decided to speak out and educate the UK public, especially those self employed people who work from home.

Let’s start with household bills…can these be claimed as an expense? According to the expert, a portion of bills such as water, electricity, heating etc can be put down as an expense on your tax return, although the exact amount is not always straight forward.

In my opinion, the best way to make sure you are claiming as much of your household bills as possible, without going too far and getting into bother with HMRC, is to hire a contractor accountant who will know exactly how much you can claim.

The next expense you might be curious about is those important home office costs, such as phone, internet, laptops, and software.

Again, the answer is not always straight forward, and depends a lot on exactly what everything is used for. An example of this is your phone bill. If you make both personal and business calls then only a portion of the bill can be claimed as an expense, although if your bill is made up of 100% business calls then you should be able to put it all down on your tax return.

As always though, I advise everybody reading this to clarify your own unique situation with a contractor accountant.

Another business expense that is often misinterpreted is travel. Can you claim for those travel tickets for your business meeting, and what is the situation if you use your car for both business and personal reasons?

The expert accountant gives us some good advice in this kind of situation, basically saying that travel costs such as tickets can be claimed as long as the trip was for business purposes, while if it is a regular expense then it would be classed as commuting instead of an expense and so can’t be claimed for.

As for the subject of using your personal car for business, this is similar to household bills in that a portion can be claimed for.

If you ask me, contacting a good contractor accountant is the best way to go here because trying to work it all out on your own is time consuming.

There are many other business expenses that need to be taken into consideration when doing your tax return at the end of the year. If you are in any doubt then speak with an accountant.

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Contractors have “Unfair Tax Advantage” says Report

In a report that is sure to make contractors laugh, the IFS, Institute for Fiscal Studies, have said that self employed people have an unfair tax advantage.

Do we really need another silly report where someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about, are paid to sit around and write about what they know nothing about? I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous reports and studies about contractors and the self employed, but this one really does take the prize for being one that went right into my bin.

To summarise the report in one sentence (you don’t want to read it, trust me), what they are saying is that the tax system treats self employed people differently to those who are employed, which ultimately means they end up paying less tax, even though employees are 85% of the workforce compared to 15% self employed.

Sounds to me like someone just doesn’t know what they are talking about, and are now looking for any excuse to take a shot at self employed people, contractors, freelancers, gig workers…you name it, apparently we all have some unfair advantage.

Do you know what? I am not even going to get into the numerous reasons why this report is wrong on so many levels, but what I will say is this…the UK needs self employed people now more than ever before mainly because the labour market is changing and we have a potentially tough time ahead with Brexit on the horizon.

If you get a few small benefits from being a contractor then it should be applauded, not criticized, although if you ask me there are very few of the self employed who pay less tax than their employed counterparts, and if they do it’s because they get themselves a good contractor accountant who can save them a few quid.

Not only that, but when you are self employed then you are in a completely different situation than employed people. No holiday pay for one. Do I need to go on? If anything, I think that contractors should be paying a lot less tax than employees, but we won’t be seeing that anytime soon.

One interesting piece of information is that the self employed are going to have to pay about £285 out of their own pockets when the government bring in the new digital tax system which will have to be done 4 times a year, not to mention the extra cost of hiring accountants and time away from their business.

Employed people won’t have to do that. Didn’t think of that did you IFS? There was a lot of things that didn’t occur to you it seems.

So you can ignore this new report from IFS, and just get on with being self employed. Even if you do pay a bit less tax, it isn’t unfair and you don’t have any advantage.

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HMRC Release List of most Bizarre Expense Claims

It is now the 31st of January and the deadline is here for getting in your tax return. If you don’t do it today then the HMRC will issue you with a fine.

At the time of writing you still have a few hours left, and if you want a contractor accountant to get things done for you there might still be time. You have to hurry though.

On a lighter note, the HMRC have just released a list of some of the most bizarre, funny, outrageous, and unusual expense claims that were made by self employed people this time last year.

While there are some things that are allowed to be classed as expenses (if you are not sure then speak with an accountant), there are many other expenses that just won’t get by the HMRC, and they’ve seen it all. .

Take the person who tried to claim food for their dog on their tax return…only we are talking about a shih tzu dog here, who was listed as a “guard dog.” I don’t think HMRC are going to allow that one.

Or how about the guy who decided that putting his underpants as an essential expense just had to be done. I suppose he couldn’t work without them? Apparently he also tried to get a VAT refund on them. I don’t think that one is going to work.

Another bizarre expense claim made last year on one tax return was for “regular Friday night bonding sessions.” In other words, someone liked to go down the pub with their mates and get drunk every week, and thought it would be a good idea to put it on their expenses.

Even if they work together it’s still difficult to get that one past HMRC. The cost of travelling to a business meeting yes, but 10 pints at your local boozer…probably not.

A spokesperson for HMRC said, “year after year we receive a number of ludicrous expense claims, ranging from international holiday flights to expensive designer clothing. HMRC will only accept those claims which are genuine, such as legitimate travel expenses or the cost of tools for the job.”

So the message is clear…if you are currently filling out your tax return right now and thinking about claiming expenses for pet food, underwear, or pints of beer, then you might want to reconsider.

As always though, I recommend you hire a contractor accountant to take care of your expenses instead of trying to do it yourself.

Not only does it give you more free time to focus on your business, but as most people will tell you, hiring a contractor accountant will save you money.

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