Tag Archive | "freelance"

“Blame The BBC,” Say The Stars

Being a television star is mostly about glitz and glamour, but when you are hauled in the interview room at HMRC HQ, then not so much.

Regular readers will be aware of the BBC television star Christa Ackroyd, who recently had her life of glitz and glamour interrupted by a £419,151 tax bill that landed on her front door mat one morning.

I’m sure she didn’t enjoy writing out that cheque, but when the HMRC come knocking then you don’t fool around. Pay the damn thing.

As I accurately predicted, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the house of cards that is British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC for short.

In my prediction, I stated that many other BBC stars will probably be under investigation soon for avoiding things like IR35 and tax.

Only a court of law and a judge slamming down the hammer can decide guilt of course, and there are many potential scenarios that could happen if the HMRC do decide to look closer at the inner tax workings of the rich and famous.

Seeing this potential mishap in the future, many of the BBC stars are already preparing their acceptance speeches…although this isn’t the Oscars and it isn’t the Raspberries..and instead of writing out a list of people they want to thank, they are writing out a list of people they want to blame.

“Blame the BBC,” seems to be the general mood among some current television stars who could be looked more closely at by HMRC in the future. “They made me do it,” could very well be their response when questioned about IR35 and tax, or lack of it.

This is further referenced in the court case of Christa Ackroyd against HMRC, also known as “Christa Ackroyd Media Ltd v Revenue and Customs,” where many newspaper writers did comment that the BBC does not have a typical relationship with its freelancers and contractors which normal companies have.

In other words, the whole subject of tax and IR35 may very well be a special case when it comes to the BBC, and the way they are treated might need to be different than normal. Who knows for sure.

For example, Miss Ackroyd, who stars in the popular BBC programme “Look North” which is watched by millions, well, she said in the court battle that permission has to be sought from the BBC head honchos if she wanted to take on other work.

Normally, in the freelance and contractor world you are free to prospect who you want, when you want, and how you want. If you desire 2, 3, or even 4 jobs at once…do it, although it seems things could be different at the BBC. I don’t know exactly.

What I do know is that for the average freelancer and contractor, what you need to do is hire the right accountants to do your books for you.

If you get investigated by HMRC then you don’t have the so called “blame game,” to fall back on. That is why having a professional in your corner is so important.

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Coldplay and Coronation Street Unite for The Parents

Who are the best people in your corner when you want parental leave for the self employed? Pop singers and soap stars of course. Who else?

Nobody, and that is why Chris Martin of the famous band “Coldplay” and Tracy Brabin of former “Coronation Street” fame, have decided to lend their support to the issue of getting paid to look after your kids…while you are self employed.

More specifically, this is about self employed fathers getting a wedge of cash from the government to share the parental responsibilities once the baby comes along.

Do you know who else would be the perfect spokesperson for a cause such as this? Jeremy Kyle, the talk show host who specialises in finding out “Just who’s baby is it, and who is the Dad?” Once Jeremy identifies the male, then it would be a simple process to put that “Dad” on the payroll.

“Do you even want to become self employed?” Jeremy would shout. Followed by…”Here. Just take your parental leave money and get out of the building.”

It’s only when stars such as Chris Martin, Tracy Brabin and Jeremy Kyle put their name behind something, well, that is when the wheels start moving and something can be done.

As we speak, it is only employed Mothers and Fathers who can share the responsibility of parenting with a stack of cash in their bank account from the government. Self employed Mothers do get a stack…but fathers? No stack.

According to the maternity discrimination action group called “Pregnant Then Screwed,” getting shared parental leave for the self employed would be a major step forward in gender equality.

They went on to say that in the creative industries this would have a major impact, mainly due to the fact that 44% of people in those industries are self employed.

I wonder if the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) are in agreement with “Pregnant Then Screwed” on this one? If so, then I’m sure they will soon be working together in order to eradicate this once and for all.

When you consider that so many creative people are self employed, then it’s easy to understand why Chris Martin, Tracy Brabin and Jeremy Kyle have got right behind this campaign.

“Just take the paternity test,” Jeremy Kyle will no doubt be saying, followed by, “what are you…SCARED?”

Right now in order for a self employed woman to be eligible for maternity leave, she must have been self employed for 26 weeks or more.

Through the Freedom of Information Act…what we have found is that around 24,000 women in self employment take the government up on their offer and get the Maternity Allowance.

Olga FitzRoy, who is involved with a group called “Parental Pay Equality” said recently, “This is a great opportunity for politicians of all parties to unite behind the bill, which will send a strong message that men and women are valued equally in the home and in the workplace.”

I just hope that Olga and CIF join forces at some point in the future, to brainstorm potential ways they can wipe clean the slate and see a clearer future.

Or just leave everything in the hands of a certain Mr Jeremy Kyle…”Self employed are you? You deserve every penny of that parental leave…and I haven’t even started yet…so why don’t you sit down, shut up, and just take the test, you BIG HARD MAN.”

“The DNA tests show that…You ARE the father. Now get home and start claiming that parental pay!”

[The crowd goes wild with appreciation and Jeremy has a look of victory on his face]

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She Owes Half a Million, Thanks to IR35

While BBC presenters might be earning a nice bit of change (all thanks to the licence payers), that hasn’t stopped the IR35 crackdown.

Regular readers of this blog will be only too aware about how the government have changed the IR35 rules for contractors and freelancers in recent years, with those working in the public sector most affected.

Well, those millionaire presenters at the BBC thought this whole IR35 thing didn’t apply to them, but a court of law has now spoken, and the judge at the head of that court has slammed down the hammer…to the tune of nearly half a million quid.

That is what happened to Christa Ackroyd who presents the BBC programme “Look North.” I’m sure she is good at her job, although I must say that I’ve never watched the show myself.

Neither has the judge, I would say, because as that hammer was being slammed down they ordered a payment of exactly £419,151 to be paid by Christa for not abiding by the proper IR35 legislation.

I’m sure she won’t enjoy writing out that cheque but what can she do? Not a lot, because when the government demand you have to make a payment then you better get your cheque book out.

So has Christa taken one for all BBC presenters or is this just the start of a saga that is going to be in the headlines over the coming months? Unfortunately for those BBC millionaire stars it is the latter, because if reports are to be trusted then we can expect to be hearing about more BBC employees being hit up for IR35 money.

Around 100 of the BBC team are being looked at right now, and if wrongdoing is found then it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole organisation comes under scrutiny.

It’s no secret that many BBC presenters have been accused of forming Limited Companies and funnelling their money into certain places in a bid to pay less tax and avoid IR35. Who knows if this is true or not? I really don’t know, but what I do know is that investigations should be made so we can get a clearer view of the situation.

Of course, the IR35 situation has already affected millions of people in the public sector, with many deciding to down tools at the first available opportunity and move towards the private sector.

They might not be safe for long though, as the Autumn Budget last year gave us a glimpse into what Philip Hammond and the government have in store.

What they are proposing is everyone be subjected to the IR35 thing, even those who are working in the private sector.

“Watch your back contractors and freelancers,” is my advice, although hopefully you won’t get hit up for half a million quid if the government do come knocking.

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TPAS Take Action, Contractors Confused

A press release hit the major news hubs this week, in a big announcement that all contractors should take notice of. It was from TPAS.

The first reaction from our nations contractors was “who are TPAS?” Confusion won the day, on the day of the press release.

Fast forward 24 hours and it has just been clarified that TPAS actually stands for The Pensions Advisory Service, and their press release and big announcement was in relation to self employed pensions.

Something which I have talked about quite a bit right here on this blog, as regular readers will be only too aware. Well, it looks like TPAS are now following in the footsteps of us, or standing on the shoulders of giants as some people might say.

What TPAS have been trying to say in the press release, which was sent off to all the major news hubs remember, well, what they have been trying to say is that not many self employed people are saving into a pension (this includes contractors as well).

Tell us something we don’t already know. It was only a few weeks ago that I reported on the exact same subject. “You are not saving into a pension” is more or less what I said, and with that single sentence thousands of contractors immediately took notice.

Now TPAS are attempting to nudge into the centre of attention and steal some of limelight. You heard it here first though.

What the press release from TPAS goes on to say is that less than a third of our nations self employed save into any kind pension.

Many of these people plan to use their business as a way to fund their retirement according to TPAS, but this doesn’t always work out the way it should.

This has made TPAS spring into action and produce a booklet for all of you self employed people out there.

“Pension saving for the self employed” is what they imaginatively called the booklet and I’m just hoping it doesn’t come in at over 50 pages.

I’ve read some of these kind of booklets before, many came in at a whopping 100 pages, and all of them went directly into my bin.

I just hope that TPAS and their “pension saving for the self employed” is a short and concise read, that I can skim through in about 5 minutes. Any longer than that, and sorry TPAS, but your booklet is going straight into the bin.

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Government Break Their Pledge (Self Employed Pensions)

We all know that not enough self employed people are saving for their retirements. Millions are going to be coming up short, unfortunately.

This led the government to make a pledge to the self employed community a few years ago, where they announced that auto-enrolment policies would be extended to those who worked for themselves.

As you are no doubt aware, this “auto-enrolment” idea has been a great hit in the traditional employment community, where employees are automatically entered into their companies pension scheme. This ensures that many people will have enough cash stashed away when they get to retirement age.

So it is all going well for the employed, but what about the self employed? According to experts, not enough has been done to make good on the pledge to “make auto-enrolment available to the self employed.”

Not only that, but it was the pensions minister, a guy by the name of Guy Opperman who went a step further and declared at the Conservative Party Conference that there would be “no doubt whatsoever” in regards to self employed people getting an auto-enrolment scheme.

Fast forward to the present day and do we have any kind of self employment pension scheme that gives the option of auto-enrolment? Er…no.

Instead, all we have heard recently is vague quotes from the government where they appear to be back tracking on their comments of a few years ago. For many in the know, it seems the politicians no longer want to know.

For example, in response to a recent statement from the government, a senior analyst at a famous investment broker firm had this to say…”most would regard the new pledge to simply encourage self employed people to save in a pension rather than them being auto-enrolled.”

Do you know what though? While I agree with the experts about the fact that politicians have gone back on their word, in my opinion, I reckon that auto-enrolment pensions for the self employed is not particularly a great idea in the first place.

People should be making their own choices if you ask me, and if you are smart enough to be self employed then you are smart enough to sort out your own pension. If you don’t then there really is no-one else to blame.

It isn’t like there is a lack of information about self employed pensions. A quick internet search will give you all the information needed to make an informed choice.

Forget about waiting around for the government to do anything for you (it will be a long wait.) Take control of your own situation.

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Contractors…SNOW Your Rights

The last few years have seen winters in the UK remain unusually snow free, but this year it looks like the snow is here for a while.

Which brings us to an important point…what rights do contractors have when it comes to taking days off from their place of employment if it snows? Obviously if you are one of those contractors who work from home then this doesn’t apply to you, but everyone else, read on…

One possible option an employer might put into action when snow is covering our nations roads is to ask contractors to do some work from home, or even make up the time later. However, it’s worth noting this must be specified in your contract, and if it’s not then you can refuse.

What if you want to go into your place of work but the workplace is actually closed, are you supposed to not get paid? The answer to that one is NO, because legally any employer cannot deduct pay if you can’t work due to the workplace being closed.

This type of situation is the perfect opportunity for contractors to put their feet up and relax for a change, safe in the knowledge they are still getting paid for a day lounging around at home. No need to venture out of the house if you ask me, just watch some TV or read a book.

The workplace being closed due to snow might not be enough to keep you away though, as the law does state that employers can demand you work from another suitable location if they get it ready in time.

Many times, when snow hits the ground in the UK then schools everywhere close down for a day or two, or even more if the teachers have anything to do with it no doubt.

When this happens, some contractors are confused about whether or not it gives them the right to also take the day off because they don’t have anyone to look after their kids.

In this type of situation an employer will usually allow time away from the workplace, although they might want you to work from home or make up the time at a later date for any work you miss.

Sometimes a disagreement happens between contractors and their employers about what should happen during times of snow. If this happens and you can’t come to an agreement then it’s possible to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, or Acas as they are also known.

Although snow can be a disruption for contractors around the country my advice is to enjoy it while it’s here.

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The Truth About K&B Contractor Accountants

If you are reading this then you have probably already heard about K&B Accountancy Group and their new special offer. A lot of contractors are talking.

What they are offering is a deal for contractors to switch over to their company completely free of charge, without any catch up fees. Something unheard of for contractors who want to change accountants.

A lot of contractors are considering taking up K&B on this offer, but before they do, I’ve been getting quite a few more emails than normal…all of them wanting to know my opinion about K&B as a company and what I think about their deal.

Firstly, let me just say that after being in the contractor world for many years I can safely vouch for K&B Accountancy Group as a respected company. They really are one of the companies that understand the needs of contractors, something which a lot of other accountants just don’t get.

With that being said do I think that every contractor should take advantage of the offer from K&B and switch over to them right away? Not at all, and in fact, there are many contractors who probably shouldn’t.

For example, If you are currently satisfied with your accountant and they are working their magic on your books, then there really isn’t any point in switching. Keep on doing what you are doing is my advice.

However, I know for a fact that the vast majority contractors are not satisfied with their accountant.

Why? The number 1 complaint I hear on a regular basis is a lack of personal touch. In other words, when you want to get through to someone it’s not uncommon to be met with an answerphone or endless ringing. Are they ignoring your calls? I wouldn’t like to say.

That is why having a dedicated accountant service is so important for every contractor. There should always be someone available at the end of the phone…something which K&B have always offered.

No matter if you want to discuss the accounts of your limited company or you want to know if your sole trader self assessment has been submitted…there is always someone at K&B to assist you, and with 15 years of experience they really know what they are talking about.

So if you are intrigued by this free offer from K&B Accountancy Group then my advice would be to go and have a look right now.

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Judge Hands Deliveroo a Victory Over Employment Rights

Just when you thought companies such as Deliveroo and Uber were beaten…a judge in Birmingham slammed down the hammer and said…

“No workers for you, everybody is self employed!”

If you have been following this whole saga about whether or not workers should be classed as self employed or employed, then you will probably be surprised by the decision

The reason? Because many of these companies are getting the wrong decisions right now, with judges all around the country slamming down the hammer of punishment and ordering them to turn the self employed into…”employed,” and all the benefits that come with that.

However, the tide may be changing with this recent ruling for Deliveroo in Birmingham, and a spokesperson for the company has spoke to the press about the matter, having this to say, “this is a victory for all riders who have continuously told us that flexibility is what they value most about working with Deliveroo.”

Do you know what? That is exactly what I’ve been saying all along, as I constantly get emails and letters from the self employed who say they really do enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and control of working for themselves, choosing their own hours, and doing what they want to do.

As far as I’m concerned, if a job for Deliveroo or Uber is correctly advertised as “freelance” or “gig worker” and the conditions are clearly spelled out, then it is up to the worker if they want to accept those conditions.

Don’t want to work as a freelance contractor? Simple…don’t accept a job that has freelance contractor in the headline. Instead, go and find a job that will offer you a set amount of hours and a set wage.

For example, most of the riders who work for Deliveroo on a freelance basis typically make, on average, more than riders who take on an hourly wage.

Not only that, but these freelancers also have the ability to work for rival delivery companies at the same time, which means they can deliver for two or more companies on the same day, which boosts their earning potential and gives them more choice.

If you ask me, many of these freelance riders have removed the shackles of traditional employment and are moving forward into a new world of being free to do what they want to do. Unfortunately, there are still some people, especially those in the government, who are living in the past.

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“DECLINED!” – HMRC Refuse Credit Card Payments

When you go to pay your tax bill what is the one payment option most self employed people want to see? The credit card of course.

Unfortunately, HMRC no longer want to make paying your tax bill easy…they want to make it difficult, by recently announcing “no credit cards allowed!”

That’s right. From January 2018 you will no longer be able to use your credit card to feed the government more of your money. Instead, they are demanding other methods of payment, such as cheque and postal order.

Are we going back to the 1980’s you might be wondering, where postal orders were all the rage and a chequebook was the one thing you always had in your pocket? Not at all, because other payment methods will also be accepted, such as debit card, cash and direct debit.

Fortunately, you can still use a credit card, just NOT a personal credit card…it has to be a business credit card.

This has left many of our nations self employed outraged though, who are arguing that they should have the right to pay any way they want to, including personal credit cards.

Not only that, but business credit cards can be difficult to get accepted for, especially if you are a contractor, freelancer, or gig worker, and as we all know, cash flow can sometimes be slightly problematic.

Come January 2018 many contractors, freelancers, and gig workers might not have the available funds to settle their tax bill, and with the absence of credit cards as an option, they would certainly encounter a difficult situation.

I reckon this could very well drive some self employed people right towards the shady world of loan sharking and payday loans. This kind of lending comes with astronomical interest rates of course, and usually, only serves to push people further into debt.

On the flip side, credit cards offer a more flexible way of lending, where you can move money around to 0% interest cards to enjoy a cheap way of borrowing money.

What makes this even more of a strange decision by HMRC is that January 2018 is also the time when credit card companies will no longer be able to slap on surcharges to transactions.

In other words, it won’t cost the government any extra cash to accept a credit card payment, which makes you wonder why they are banning it? Many people have been left bewildered.

So much so that they have taken to Facebook groups and forums to express their outrage and demand answers, although something tells me there will be nothing but silence from HMRC.

My advice to any contractor, freelancer or gig worker out there is to make sure you have enough cash in the bank to pay your tax bill next year.

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She Was Cheesed Off and Ready to Quit, But Then…

How would you feel if you had been made redundant twice and gone to 60 job interviews without any success at all? Most people would quit I think.

This is exactly what happened to one 35 year old woman in Aberdeen, Scotland, who thought her only option might be to resign herself to going to sign on at the local job centre, week in and week out, with no hope of ever landing another job.

However, this particular woman wasn’t ready to give up just yet, and instead of looking for someone else to give her a job she decided to start a business centred around one of her passions.

As we all know, most businesses do fail pretty quickly, which means it wouldn’t have been any surprise to see this woman from Scotland back down the local job centre within a few months.

Not so… and in fact, she went on to start a business that now makes a cool £84,000 a year. Even better, she has 5 people working directly under her. She went from “looking for a boss” to “I am a boss” in only a short amount of time.

It just goes to show you the power of becoming self employed and taking control of your own financial situation if you ask me.

What is this business anyway? Well, she lives in Aberdeen and what is the one thing that almost everyone in that part of Scotland likes more than anything else…Cheese Toasties of course, preferably mixed with haggis to give it a proper Scottish flavour.

This was all made possible by a generous loan from the government funded Start Up Loans Company.

Usually the government are useless when it comes to this type of thing in my opinion, but on this occasion they seem to have got it right.

With the Start Up Loans Company you can get a loan up to £25,000 to start a business for a fixed interest rate of 6%. Not bad if you ask me, and a lot better than what some independent loan companies would offer you.

Back to the story and this Cheese Toastie shop owner from Aberdeen has just been chosen as a spokesperson for SULCo (Start Up Loans Company) who want to use her story as motivation for other wannabe British business owners.

SULCo are looking to provide self employed people in the UK with 50,000 loans over the coming year. They have already lent £345 million to startups, so we are going to be witnessing even more good things over there.

I think this story can serve as inspiration to anyone who is going through a tough time and considering retiring to the local job centre.

Don’t give up just yet. No matter if you want to start a business, become a freelancer or contractor, or simply offer your services in the gig economy…you can do it.

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Self Employed for 12 Months – Lessons Learned…

Many people in the UK want to become self employed but they are concerned about landing flat on their face. Nobody wants to fail.

What about things like tax returns, setting up a budget and dealing with lean times when there is no work? The vast majority of wannabe self employed workers stay exactly like that…wannabes who will never be, unless they take the plunge.

One guy that did take the plunge 1 year ago is John Fitzsimons, and he is not alone. According to recent statistics during the last 12 months 174,000 people in the UK have also done the same thing, which means the number of self employed workers now stands at 4.7 million.

It could be more though, and it probably should be, if more people just had the knowledge and power to fire their boss and go out their alone…to be their own boss.

The good news is that guys like John are giving us an insight into what its like to work for yourself in 2017, as he recently wrote down some of the lssons he has learned over the last 12 months.

Save money for your tax bill

One of the differences between being self employed and working for someone else is that you have to sort out your own tax bill. No longer is it simply taken out of your wage slip, when you work for yourself you have to fill out a tax return…and then have enough cash to pay it.

John heard about many people who don’t save any money for thier tax bill and then find themselves in financial trouble. That’s why he decided to to setup a seperate savings account and then transfer 40% of his income over to the account.

This way he knew for sure the tax bill would be paid on time which meant he could focus more of his time and effort on making money.

Some months are good, some not

When you are in traditional employment then typically the work is there every day, every month…all year round. However, when you become self employed the script is flipped so to speak, and it’s not uncommon to find some months being a bit lean when it comes to clients and work.

According to John, the main thing to keep in mind is that as long as you are having some months where you are exceeding your financial targets, then at the end of the year it all evens out.

In other words, you can afford to have a few months where the money isn’t exactly rolling in. So put your feet up and relax, and get ready to work really hard when you have more work than you can handle.

Hire an accountant

It’s amazing how many contractors, freelancers, and business owners completley neglect their books, and then in December they are rushing around trying to get their tax return together.

John didn’t want to do this, and that is why he hired an accountant straight away and then kept detailed records of all money that came in and went out.

Needless to say, when it came time to fill in the tax return John and his accountant were completley chilled out with no mad rush to get everything done.

Treat it like work

One of the main pitfalls that many self employed people fall into, especially those who work from home is having a lack of schedule. They become “too flexible” and it’s not uncomon for a morning watching the TV turning into a whole day watching the TV…followed by a 2am work session.

The main problem with this is that it lacks structure and pretty soon you can find yourself not knowing where work ends and your free time begins.

That is why John set out the exact hours he was going to work and the exact hours that were for his free time. He also turned off email alerts on his phone when he wasn’t working.

All good tips if you ask me, and certainely some actionable advice there for anyone who wants to become self employed.


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I’m a Freelance Contractor and I’m Tired of Hearing This…

It a great time be a freelance contractor in the UK, no doubt about that, but sometimes it can be frustrating to hear people say the same things, over and over.

The simple fact of the matter is that explaining yourself is part and parcel of the self employed lifestyle, especially if you work from home on a freelancing or contracting basis.

Family, friends, neighbours and complete strangers, are curious, confused, and even downright baffled when you are still chilling in your pyjamas at 2 in the afternoon.

This often leads to a barrage of comments and questions, which at first you don’t mind responding to…but after a while you just want to ignore.

When are you planning to get a real job? This is one of the questions that gets asked the most to freelance contractors, and many are tired of hearing it.

Fortunately, being self employed is a real job, and even if other people will never accept your answers, at least you can take satisfaction from the knowledge you probably make more than they do, while working less hours. Take that!

“I wish I could work part time,” is another statement you might hear from members of the general public as they witness you sitting in the garden in your dressing gown at 4pm.

What they don’t realise, of course, is that the amount of hours you put in to a job has nothing to do with the amount you are paid.

Traditional employees may very well clock in and out every day and do their 8 hours, but only 1 or 2 hours of that is typically productive. In contrast, a self employed freelancer can put in 4 hours of focused work and get way more done.

Do you offer a cheap rate, mate…rates for mates? No doubt many self employed people have heard those words, to the point where even the slightest inclination that a mate is about to ask for a cheap rate, or even a freebie, well, it sends you running.

It would be nice if you could work for cheap whenever friends and family needed something doing, but you can’t get away from the fact you need to make a living, and in the freelance and contractor world that means charging as much as possible…not working for free.

“Work at home jobs are scams.” You’ve no doubt heard that one, and are tired of hearing it if you hang around with a lot of people in traditional employment.

It seems they just can’t comprehend how someone can avoid commuting to and from work everyday in traffic, then avoid the office politics and taking orders from a boss, and then avoid even having to leave the house…to the point where getting up at lunch time is a regular thing.

“You will have to get a real job soon,” they say for the 100th time. Yes, you are tired of hearing it, but you know the truth which means you get the last laugh.

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“DON’T Show Me The Money,” Say Contractors

Working is all about that money, wouldn’t you agree? Apparently not, as a recent survey found that in the contracting world other things are more important.

The survey was conducted by a contractor tax advisory firm who wanted to gain an insight into exactly how UK contracting professionals think and act. The results of the survey are fascinating

What they found is that 48% of contractors said that more independence and control are the main reasons why they wanted to become self employed in the first place. No doubt they were frustrated with lack of control when you have to bow down to a boss every day. Look who’s laughing now though.

Compare this to only 31% of contractors who said they were doing it primarily for the money, and it’s plain to see that many of our nations self employed, and particularly contractors, prefer being in control of their own destiny over taking home a big bag of cash at the end of the week.

That isn’t to say that contractors don’t care about money. Of course they do. It’s just that it isn’t their number 1 motivating factor in getting up everyday and looking for contractor jobs.

The survey asked 715 contractors their opinions, so you can be sure the answers come from a broad spectrum within the industry.

Other statistics uncovered by the tax advisory firm include the fact that 12% of contractors make it a main priority to strike a good balance between work and life. In other words, they take their work seriously, but also want to have some good times as well.

Compare this to your average worker drone who slaves away for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and it’s easy to see why the world of freelance contracting has become so attractive in recent years to the UK public.

9% of those surveyed did put themselves in the “other reasons” box when asked about why they became a contractor. Some might have been made redundant for example, while others just wanted to give something else a try, no doubt.

A spokesperson for the company behind the survey had this to say: “Self employment gives people more freedom and control over their careers and lives, and the largest proportion of contractors state this as the main reason for striking out alone simply highlights that independence is priceless.”

Well said by the spokesperson if you ask me. I think they understand exactly what motivates a lot of contractors right now in the UK.

Where exactly in the contracting world is independence valued the most? According to the survey that prize goes to IT, where self employed IT contractors really do enjoy having the freedom to more or less do whatever they want.

The good news is that IT contractors are also paid very generously, especially in certain areas of the IT market where many skills are highly sought after.

So IT contractors are having their cake and eating it too, and with the vast majority of other contractors enjoying their cake…the future is looking bright in the UK contractor scene.

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NO Tax Cut for Contractors Says Chancellor

If you are a contractor in the UK then you probably want to pay less tax. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there will be a tax cut any time soon.

That is according to the chancellor Philip Hammond, who recently banged his fist down on the table and demanded…NO tax cut for contractors!

This news will no doubt come as a shock to the millions of contractors, freelancers, gig workers, and self employed employed people around the country, because if you remember, it was only a few months ago that Mr Hammond said we would do “whatever we have to do” when Brexit takes place in order to stay competitive.

Many experts thought he meant a tax drop would be on the cards, in a bid to attract highly skilled contractors to relocate on a permanent basis to the UK, but it appears this is not what he meant.

Instead, there will be no tax cuts and no attempts to get one over on our European neighbours. It actually seems that everybody is getting on really well right now, as the Brexit negotiation take place and the European leaders try to work this whole thing out.

So everybody is friends at the moment and it’s all smiles…but how long will that last? Not long in my opinion, and if our soon to be ex European partners try to pull a fast one in the negotiation room, then it wouldn’t surprise me if Philip Hammond starts to talk about tax cuts once again.

Is it really fair that the chancellor is using UK contractors as pawns though? A few months ago he got everyone’s hopes up with all this talk about less tax, and then, without a moments hesitation he changes his mind and acts like nothing ever happened.

Meanwhile, the millions of hard working self employed people are let down once again. Is it any wonder that the Conservatives lost votes at the recent General Election? I don’t think so.

It had a lot to do with the senseless tax grab the chancellor tried to get away with if you ask me, and that is why many people stayed away or voted elsewhere at the election.

Well, if people were not impressed with the tax grab, something tells me those people (and even more) are not going to be impressed about the chancellor promising a tax cut and then backtracking only a few months later.

A tax cut might have been a bit of pie in the sky anyway, with one political correspondent saying that due to the Conservatives losing seats in Parliament then getting a bill passed for less tax would probably be a struggle.

Wouldn’t it be great that instead of politicians, we had contractors and business owners in Parliament making the decisions? I’m sure the tax rate would quickly go down, and millions of self employed would enjoy filling out their tax return every year.

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Government Scrap Tax Grab, Admit Defeat

If you read this blog every week then you will no doubt remember how I reported on the cheeky tax grab the government tried to bring in at the budget.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced to the country he was going to tax the self employed whether they liked it or not. Well, millions of hard working Brits didn’t like it, and after a national outcry that no-one in the government expected, the Chancellor quickly back tracked on his plans.

At the time I mentioned how this was a victory for contractors, freelancers, small business owners, and self employed people all around the country, although I hinted it might only be a small victory, because no doubt those politicians would have another go in a few months.

It doesn’t seem that way now though, as the government recently admitted defeat on their unpopular tax grab, with Deputy PM Damien Green saying that it won’t be revisited.

Something tells me the Conservatives poor showing at the recent General Election might have a lot to do with this back track, as they make an attempt to get the millions of self employed people back on their side.

Rightly so if you ask me. Politicians seems to forget that it’s self employed contractors, freelancers and small business owners that prop up this fragile economy and keep everything running smoothly.

When it comes time to cast their vote many don’t forget how they have been treated by the government, and it’s no wonder that a lot decided to stay away during the recent General Election, or even vote for another party.

In my opinion, the Prime Minister and her cabinet really need to sit down and work out ways they can do more for our nations self employed army, rather than just looking at them as a way to make more money every time they need to get some cash.

Let’s face it, with Brexit just around the corner the self employed are now more important than ever before, so let’s hope they keep their word this time and we don’t hear any more talk about tax hikes.

Right now, as we speak, it’s estimated that 5 million people in the UK are classed as self employed, which is around 15% of the workforce.

However, with the gig economy continuing to get more popular and the freelance lifestyle something that a lot of people want to have…then it’s not surprising that many experts are expecting nearly half of the workforce to be in some form of self employment in 10 years time.

So when you consider that many of the voters in upcoming elections will be self employed, then it’s about time politicians started catering to their needs. Dropping the tax hikes is a good start.

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Only Digital Banking Please…We Are Self Employed

Do you ever get tired of cashing cheques and paying in money at your local bank? A digital banking company might just change that.

They are called Revolut, and so far have been a big success in the consumer banking market. Now they are eager to move into the business arena, with self employed people such as contractors, freelancers, gig workers and small business owners right at the top of their list.

So far, 12,000 businesses have signed up for the digital banking service offered by Revolut, and if reports are to be trusted this includes a few FTSE 100 companies.

You don’t have to be a big business doing millions of pounds a month to use Revolut though…it is open to any self employed person that wants to move their banking into the 21st century.

The service starts at only £25 a month, and then moves all the way up to £1000 a month depending on how much you are banking with them and what kind of customer benefits you receive. You get the first month for free to give it a try.

Once signed up, you get a business banking card that can be used in 25 different currencies and has no fees when used. Not a bad deal if you ask me, especially if you do a lot of business with clients and companies from abroad.

Traditional banks often take high fees for themselves if you receive money from abroad, and this usually comes with a terrible conversion rate. It appears that Revolut might just be the alternative option that self employed people in the UK have been looking for.

Not only that, but when you consider that most contractors and freelancers these days get paid online without any cash or cheques, then it’s easy to see why digital banking is now a viable solution.

The founder and CEO of Revolut, Nik Storonsky, had this to say…”I have great confidence that Revolut for Business will experience the same demand as our consumer service has.”

I’m sure it will Nik, and many experts agree with me, with some commenting that Revolut for business is a game changer.

Also, I’ve heard from some insider sources that Revolut are planning to use this as a springboard to get into mortgages and loans for the self employed.

This is definitely an area that is currently being under served, with many freelancers, contractors, gig workers, and small business owners out there who just can’t get the finance they need, despite making a decent amount of money every month.

Let’s wait to find out what happens with the mortgages and loans, and of course, with this new digital banking service. Something tells me it is going to be successful and we will hear a lot more about Revolut in the coming months.

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