As you may recall, we have a new intern at UCHQ.
In terms of her education, the going has been decidedly slow.
I found her the other day, browsing the hashtag #umbrella on Instagram. “These purple ones look nice, don’t they, Ed?”
I felt my blood pressure rising. “Have you looked into IR35 yet?” I asked.
“What’s the hashtag?”
Give me strength.
“Not on Instagram. The IR35 legislations are actually very important for our readers,” I told her. “It’s two tax legislations. They are designed to ensure that companies are actually hiring genuine self-employed contractors, rather than being a disguised employee, but without the benefits and legal protection. It’s something that’s there to protect employees and employers and it ensures that everyone is paying tax and operating within the law. Have you read all about the stuff in the news with Uber?”
“That they launched a boat service in Lagos?”
“No. There was a huge court case to try and determine if Uber drivers were really self-employed, or if they were actually employed by Uber.”
“Why does anyone care, so long as I can get one at 1am on a Friday night?” She asked.
“Because it has an impact on the whole contactor community. It’s a minefield. Unless you’re a legal expert, it’s something that’s a real drag to learn.”
“So… you’re telling me I don’t need to know about it?” She switched back to Instagram.
“No. You do. Because it matters to our customers. However, our customers don’t have to trouble themselves with the minutiae of IR35. Our whole point of existence is helping freelance and contract workers to find the right umbrella company for them. An umbrella Company provider takes care of all that. They ensure that contractors stay legal and within HMRC guidelines for their tax, insurance, expenses and employee liabilities. And they save them the time and money of having to set up their own Limited Company from scratch.”
“What if it rains while you’re waiting for your Uber – can the IR35 stuff help with that?”
“…Or should I be buying that purple umbrella?” she asked, smiling, before heading back on to Instagram.