As the dust settles after the Summer Budget announcement and contractors, freelancers and other independent professionals are dealing with the realisation that the government may yet introduce more measures which will have a significant impact on their finances, news from elsewhere is mixed.
Self employment is on the decline
Whilst there have been many reports about the increasing numbers of self employed individuals in recent months, it appears that the ongoing increase in self employment may be drawing to an end. With 131,000 fewer independent professionals than there were in the previous year, speculation is rife as to the reasons that fewer people are choosing to go it alone. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed are concerned, believing that the Conservative government’s lack of support could be responsible, but there are those who believe that it is a sign of a new-found strength in traditional employment.
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With the Chancellor announcing his second Budget of 2015, there has been plenty to keep contractors interested in the government’s plans for their future. Between HMRC’s attempts to raise revenue and the Conservative Party’s pledge to support small businesses, it has been a busy month.
HMRC admits shortcomings
Calling HMRC may not be top of most people’s lists of things to do at the best of times, but the department have had to admit that they have failed to provide a suitably efficient service over recent months. The chief executive has acknowledged the difficulties that people have been having, and pledged an increase in the number of staff available in the run-up to the July 31st tax credit deadline.
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With contractor availability hitting a seven-month low, recruiters have been having trouble finding qualified staff to fill the roles available, but this means contractors’ prospects are good in a number of sectors, such as IT.
Firms relying on IT security contractors
An increasing number of companies are failing to protect themselves against online fraud and attacks on the sensitive data that they hold, meaning that they have to turn to IT security contractors to help them deal with data breaches with increasing regularity. The last two years have seen more breaches than ever before with a 183 per cent increase in the number of security investigations launched.
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With the country settling in to a post-election routine, there are some issues which keep coming up time and time again, such as the buoyant market for contractors and the ongoing campaign against tax avoidance. There are a number of different organisations speaking out about the major issues.
BBC tips off HMRC about tax avoidance
The Employment Allowance is the latest government scheme to come under threat from aggressive tax avoiders who are trying to take advantage of the opportunities which are designed to help those who need support to make a success of their businesses. One of the recruitment industry’s most prominent companies has been encouraging their clients to set up small limited companies in order to take advantage of the allowance and save up to £2,000 per year in National Insurance payments. A secret recording caught an adviser recommending the scheme and the BBC has passed details to HM Revenue and Customs who have reminded those who might be tempted that this behaviour could incur a £1 million fine.
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The election results threw up a lot of questions about almost everything, from continued membership of the EU to the details of planned changes to the tax system. However, in the early days when many of the decisions were still to be made, life continued apace and contractors were offered some advice by those involved in hiring them.
It’s all about the money when it comes to IT contracting
Although most contractors are keen to foster long-term relationships with their clients, focussing on the job in hand is the best way to land a contract, according to those who are responsible for hiring short-term employees. This week saw the release of a study which showed that businesses want immediate focus on how to make savings surrounding the specific problem they need fixing before they will even consider long-term planning or strategizing, so contractors who want to discuss bigger picture may be missing out. Click Here for more >